Bowman-Birk and Kunitz protease inhibitors among antinutrients and bioactives modified by germination and hydrolysis in Brazilian soybean cultivar BRS 133

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 15;60(32):7886-94. doi: 10.1021/jf301926w. Epub 2012 Jul 31.


Soybean contains constituents that have antinutritional and bioactive properties. Enzymatic hydrolysis and germination can enhance the biological activity of these compounds in soybean. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of germination, Alcalase (protease) hydrolysis, and their combination on the concentrations of antinutritional and bioactive compounds in Brazilian soybean cultivar BRS 133. A combination of germination and Alcalase hydrolysis resulted in the degradation of Bowman-Birk inhibitor (BBI), Kunitz trypsin inhibitor (KTI), and lunasin by 96.9, 97.8, and 38.4%. Lectin was not affected by any of the processing treatments when compared to nongerminated and nonhydrolyzed soy protein extract. Total isoflavones (ISF) and total saponins (SAP) increased by 16.2 and 28.7%, respectively, after 18 h of germination, while Alcalase hydrolysis led to the reduction of these compounds. A significant correlation was found between concentrations of BBI and KTI, BBI and lunasin, BBI and ISF, KTI and lunasin, KTI and ISF, KTI and SAP, lunasin and ISF, and ISF and SAP. Germination and Alcalase hydrolysis interacted in reducing BBI, ISF, and SAP. This study presents a process of preparing soy flour ingredients with lower concentrations of antinutritional factors and with biologically active constituents, important for the promotion of health associated with soybean consumption. In conclusion, 18 h of germination and 3 h of Alcalase hydrolysis is recommended for elimination of protease inhibitors, while bioactives are maintained by at least 50% of their original concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Germination / physiology*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Isoflavones / analysis
  • Saponins / analysis
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Seeds / enzymology*
  • Seeds / growth & development*
  • Soybeans*
  • Species Specificity
  • Subtilisins / metabolism
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Soybean / analysis
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Soybean / metabolism*
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Kunitz Soybean / analysis
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Kunitz Soybean / metabolism*


  • Isoflavones
  • Saponins
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Soybean
  • Trypsin Inhibitor, Kunitz Soybean
  • Subtilisins