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Photo: A variety of foods that have soy in them.
A new on-line database available from the Agricultural Research Service provides values for the amount of three individual isoflavone compounds. Isoflavones, which have mild estrogen-like properties and other biological attributes, are found primarily in soybeans and soybean products. Photo courtesy of the United Soybean Board.

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Database of Isoflavone Compounds in Foods Updated

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
September 23, 2008

A newly updated food composition database of plant chemical compounds called isoflavones was launched today by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.

A subclass of flavonoids, isoflavones have mild estrogen-like properties and other biological attributes that, when present in foods, may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. Isoflavones are found primarily in soybeans and soybean products. Small amounts are present in a wide variety of other food items.

The new database provides analytical values for three individual isoflavone compounds--genistein, daidzein and glycitein--in nearly 550 foods. These are grouped under 21 separate categories, such as "Legume Products," "Baked Products" and "Baby Foods."

The updated database was compiled by David Haytowitz and Seema Bhagwat, scientists working at the Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL), which is part of the ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md.

In assembling the database, the researchers conducted an extensive review of various data sources and evaluated scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals since 1999. All the data were evaluated by a data quality evaluation system developed by the NDL scientists.

The Isoflavone Database is one of several "Special Interest Databases" produced by NDL to provide data on bioactive compounds for selected foods. Others include the Flavonoid, Proanthocyanidin and ORAC databases.

The Special Interest Databases complement the NDL's core product--the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (SR21)--which is the major authoritative source of food composition information in the United States.

The new Isoflavone Database can be accessed online at:


ARS is a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.