• antinutritional factors;
  • Glycine max;
  • soybeans;
  • toxicity


Five different recently released Brazilian soybean cultivars (Bays, BR-10, Rio Balsas, Serido and Tropical) were compared for their proximate analyses and presence of antinutritional or toxic factors. As expected, the seeds are rich in proteins, varying from 360·7 to 485·4 g kg−1 flour, and they also have a high amount of fat (from 183·0 to 215·3 g kg−1 flour). Crude extracts from seeds of Bays, BR-10, Serido and Tropical were highly toxic to mice within 1–12 h, depending on the administration route (intraperitoneal, intramuscular or subcutaneous) and dose used while Rio Balsas was not. These acute effects were very similar to those produced by the soytoxin, a neurotoxin that has been recently purified from the commercial soybean sold in Brazil. The amount of trypsin inhibited in the presence of crude extracts ranged from 28·5 to 62·5 g kg−1 flour. Urease was also present and the seed lectin agglutinated preferentially rabbit erythrocytes. A heat treatment at 92°C for 1 min destroyed completely the toxic activity while the haemagglutinating and trypsin inhibitor activities were abolished within 5 min. At these conditions urease was still active. Due to its high protein content, lack of soytoxin, and low levels of trypsin inhibitor, lectin, and urease it is suggested that Rio Balsas could be an alternative for breeding programmes aimed to improve the nutritional quality of soybeans. ©1997 SCI