From Soybeans to Tofu: The Underlying Chemistry

Journal article


Wang, B., Wang, Qi, Wang, B., Wang, S., Zhang, Y. and Zhao, D. (2023). From Soybeans to Tofu: The Underlying Chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.3c00096
AuthorsWang, B., Wang, Qi, Wang, B., Wang, S., Zhang, Y. and Zhao, D.
Abstract

Tofu, a traditional Chinese food, is now popular worldwide. However, few people notice the chemistry that is involved in its production. To shed light on this, we have designed a simple demonstration for lower-level undergraduates in organic chemistry or biochemistry courses to help them understand the chemistry principles that underlie the curdling step in tofu processing. Raw soymilk is relatively stable without heating, even with the addition of coagulants. However, heat treatment denatures the soy proteins in soymilk, which makes them more amenable to coagulation. This coagulation is further promoted with salt coagulants, such as calcium gluconate, zinc gluconate, and calcium lactate. Acid coagulants such as white vinegar or grape, orange, and lemon juice can also induce coagulation due to their acidic properties. Based on our results and on previous reports, we illustrate the curdling mechanism in this work. This demonstration can also be used as an at-home experiment during lab closure situations, such as a pandemic, and can arouse students’ curiosity about the coagulation of other food proteins and the process of making alternative tofu.

KeywordsEducation; General Chemistry
Year2023
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN0021-9584
1938-1328
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.3c00096
Funder/ClientKey Scientific Research Project of Colleges and Universities in Henan Province
Science and Technology Innovation Talents in Universities of Henan Province
Henan Provincial Science and Technology Research Project
Postgraduate Education Reform and Quality Improvement Project of Henan Province
Publication dates
Online17 Aug 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Jul 2023
Deposited30 Aug 2023
Accepted author manuscript
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Open
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