Nutritional and Physiological Criteria in the Assessment of Milk Protein Quality for Humans
Cécile Bos, PhD, Claire Gaudichon, PhD, and Daniel Tomé, PhD
INRA, Nutrition Humaine et Physiologie Intestinale, Institut National Agronomique, Paris-Grignon, 16 rue Claude Bernard, Paris, France
Dietary protein quality is influenced by several factors and especially the amino acid composition as well as the bioavailability of the protein. The method to assess the dietary, protein quality recommended by the FAO/WHO (1985, 1990) is based on the ability of the protein to satisfy the indispensable amino acid requirements. The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PD-CAAS) has been proposed as a quality index and takes into account both the indispensable amino acid composition and the protein digestibility. This index can easily be used routinely, but some conceptual and methodological limits must be considered, such as the determination of both nitrogen and indispensable amino acid requirements, the bioavailability of dietary protein and the validation of the quality indexes. Another level in the evaluation of protein quality considers more specific activities related to specific protein-derived components. The compounds responsible for these activities include enzymes, immunoglobulins, mediator and hormone-like substances. These actions are linked to native proteins or to peptides cleaved from protein during digestion.