Research student profile: Jingwen Cai

Project title

A Study of the Chemistry of Soybean Protein Curds

Project overview

My project aims to ascertain role of proteins, lipids and saccharides in soybean on chemical and physical properties of tofu, explore novel approaches to improve the yield of soy milk, as well as examine the effect of ageing and storage on the chemistry of soy protein, ascertain the roles of aged constituents on the chemical and physical characteristics of soy protein curds.

Previously, findings have demonstrated that soybean has protein content around 40% (dry basis), the highest among the cereal and other legume species. Also, it contains about 20% oil and some other valuable components including phospholipid, vitamins, phytates, isoflavones and so on. However, in the process of tofu manufacture, extraction of the soymilk from the soybean only removes approx 20-30% of the protein in the seed. The remainder is normally discarded in the fibrous residue remaining after filtration. On the other hand, soybeans are subject to transportation and storage between harvest and being processed into soy products, during which their physical, chemical and biological properties may dramatically changed. At the moment, research has shown that soybean stored in high relative humidity and temperature will lead to the decreased yield, poor texture and dark color of soymilk and tofu.

Fractionation of soybean slurries will be undertaken and the contribution that each of these make to the physical and chemical characteristics of the soymilk will be investigated. The Rapid Visco Analyzer (RVA) will be extensively used to examine the pasting characteristics of these fractions and combinations thereof. Electrophoretic techniques will be used to examine the effect of ageing and storage on the integrity of soy protein. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS) will also be used to detect the components in soybean and its products.

I hope to demonstrate the role of proteins, lipids and saccharides in soybean on chemical and physical properties of tofu. Findings from this work will also ascertain the optimal condition for soybean storage. Furthermore, the optimal condition for extraction of soymilk will be settled as related to the yield and texture of tofu.


I am an international student from China and completed my BSc in 2008 at Tianjin University of Science and Technology.

I have been granted W C Turland scholarships

During my undergraduate study, I have been granted the first scholarships for high academic achievements for six times, and twice the winner of scholarships for outstanding university students.




More research student profiles