October 23, 2008 / 7:48 AM / 10 years ago

Experts reduce flatulence-causing sugars in soy

Soy beans are seen after being harvested in the outskirts of Gualeguaychu city, 230 km (143 miles) north of Buenos Aires, March 30, 2008. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - Scientists in Singapore may have found a way to reduce certain carbohydrates in soybeans that have long been blamed for flatulence.

At issue are two sugars in soy — raffinose and stachyose — that produce intestinal gas because they are indigestible.

For this reason, many consumers stay away from soy-based products despite their health benefits over dairy-based ones.

In an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers in Singapore said they found a way round this by mixing soybeans with the fungus, R. oligosporus, which contains enzymes that appear to be able to degrade the two culprit sugars.

In their experiment, the researchers injected black soybeans with a diluted solution of the fungus before allowing them to germinate.

After three days, they found that levels of stachyose and raffinose in the germinated soybean had reduced by 92 and 80 percent respectively.

Furthermore, it showed elevated levels of isoflavones, which some nutritionists believe to be useful in preventing cancer.

Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by David Fox

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