Sprouting is a process by which the dormant embryo in the seed wakes up and begins to grow into a seedling. During the germination process, seeds are wrapped in a wet paper towel and placed in a seed germinator set at 30°C and 85% relative humidity for 24-72 hours. After the removal of sprouts, the seeds are used to prepare different soy products such as soy beverage, soybean powder, bread and soy milk.
Pathak (2005) reported that germinated soybean seeds produced significant anti-diabetic effects by regulating blood sugar levels and were more effective than oral hypoglycaemic drugs. Singh (1978) reported that in the Bragg and Kalitur varieties of soybean, trypsin inhibition was decreased from 52.24% and 58.21% to 16.42% and 19.40%, respectively, after 96 hours of germination. Chauhan and Chauhan (2007) developed an anti-nutrient-free soybean beverage using germinated soybeans and reported that the beverage was devoid of oligosaccharides, with very low quantities of phytic phosphorus, trypsin inhibitor and saponins.
Bau and Debry (1979) prepared various protein fractions from non-germinated and germinated soybeans. Germination tended to improve the nutritional quality of protein products as measured by protein efficiency ratios. Vitamin C content increased from 0 to 25 mg 100 g-1 during germination. Flour from germinated soybeans can be used to replace wheat flour in some formulations to improve nutritional quality. Selection of the right variety combined with a suitable germination process could provide a good source of bioactive compounds from soybean and their germinated products for nutraceutical applications (Pei and His, 2006). Sprouting induces hydrolysis of soybean polypeptides and polysaccharides, limiting the cross-linking of these macromolecules during and after heat treatment, thereby delaying the coagulation of soybean extract (Nsofor and Maduako, 1992). When soy milk is developed from sprouted soybeans, it is more digestible and nutritious than that from the unsprouted soybeans. Germination of seeds causes hydrolysis of macromolecules, which facilitates digestion.
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