soya bean Glycine max, one of the great staple foods of the world, ranks with wheat and rice in importance and outstrips both in the richness of nourishment it provides. The peoples of China, Japan, and all SE Asia, who generally have little or no meat in their diet, are sustained by the soya bean’s high content of protein: 35 per cent, far beyond that of any other plant. Furthermore, the protein is more ‘complete’ than other vegetable proteins, i.e. it supplies a full and well-balanced mixture of the essential amino acids. The bean is also rich in oil (about 20 per cent in dried beans) and is the world’s main source of cooking oil.