Scientists develop unique method to measure protein digestion


A group of scientists at St. John’s Research Institute, Bengaluru, has developed a new way to accurately measure the digestibility of dietary proteins.


The scientific team labelled spirulina and two legumes (chick pea and mung bean pea) with stable, nonradioactive isotopes of carbon (13C) and hydrogen (2H) respectively during their study.


They found that removing the hull or skin of mung bean before ingestion increases the average digestibility of essential amino acids by 10 per cent.


In another study, the team used stable isotopes to label and measure protein digestion in chicken and egg. At 92 per cent, the essential amino acid digestion was highest in cooked chicken, followed by whole boiled egg at 89 per cent and egg white protein at 86 per cent.


According to the scientists, one has to consume about 40 per cent more dal to get the same amino acid into the body as animal source protein. On the other hand, legumes are good for the environment and land and offer many other beneficial nutrients. A balance has to be reached when deciding on the source of high quality protein foods in the diet.

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