Contents and bioactivities of lunasin, bowman-birk inhibitor, and isoflavones in soybean seed

J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Oct 5;53(20):7686-90. doi: 10.1021/jf0506481.


It has been previously demonstrated that lunasin is a novel and promising cancer preventive peptide from soybean. The Bowman-Birk protease inhibitor (BBI) and isoflavones are well-studied substances from soy. This study evaluated the levels and bioactivities of these three compounds as affected by stages of seed development and sprouting under light and dark conditions. BBI and lunasin appear at 7 and 6 weeks, respectively, after flowering and increase as the seed matures. Daidzein and genistein both decrease during seed maturation. During sprouting under light, BBI increases up to the 6th day and decreases thereafter, disappearing at the 9th day after soaking. Under dark conditions, BBI increases up to the 7th day after soaking and decreases thereafter, disappearing at the 10th day. Lunasin starts to decrease at 2 days after soaking and disappears completely at 7 days under light and dark conditions. Daidzein and genistein increase continuously during the 10 days of soaking, and both increase more in the dark than under light conditions. Protein extracts from early seed development (2-5 weeks after flowering) suppress cell viability to a greater degree than those from later stages (6-9 weeks). Inhibition of foci formation by protein extracts from later stages is greater than those from earlier stages. Lunasin and BBI suppress foci formation more than the isoflavones. Sprouting decreases lunasin and BBI contents but increases isoflavones. Protein extracts from early soaking times inhibit foci formation more and suppress cell viability less than those from later soaking times. Light and dark conditions have no influence on the bioactivities of protein extracts. These data are useful in the preparation of soy fractions enriched in lunasin, BBI, and isoflavones and in making dietary recommendations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Darkness
  • Isoflavones / analysis*
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology
  • Light
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Soybean Proteins / analysis*
  • Soybean Proteins / pharmacology
  • Soybeans / chemistry*
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Soybean / analysis*
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Soybean / pharmacology


  • GM2S-1 protein, soybean
  • Isoflavones
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Soybean