Researchers turn soy waste into probiotic nutrition

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In Singapore, National University of Singapore food scientists gave okara – the residue from the production of soy milk and tofu that is usually discarded – a new lease on life by turning it into a refreshing drink that contains live probiotics, dietary fiber, free isoflavones and amino acids.

“Okara has an unpleasant smell and taste – it smells fishy, tastes bland, and has a gritty mouthfeel. Our breakthrough lies in our unique combination of enzymes, probiotics and yeast that work together to make okara less gritty, and give it a fruity aroma while keeping the probiotics alive. Our final product offers a nutritious, non-dairy alternative that is eco-friendly,” said project supervisor Associate Professor Shao-Quan Liu, who is from the Food Science and Technology Programme at the NUS Faculty of Science.

The team found that encapsulating these nutrients in a beverage, they can be easily absorbed into the body and promote gut health.