Physiological Importance and Mechanisms of Protein Hydrolysate Absorption

  • Brian M. Zhanghi
  • James C. Matthews


Understanding opportunities to maximize the efficient digestion and assimilation by production animals of plant- and animal-derived protein products is critical for farmers, nutritionists, and feed manufacturers to sustain and expand the affordable production of high quality animal products for human consumption. The challenge to nutritionists is to match gastrointestinal tract load to existing or ­inducible digestive and absorptive capacities. The challenge to feed manufacturers is to develop products that are efficient substrates for digestion, absorption, and/or both events. Ultimately, the efficient absorption of digesta proteins depends on the mediated passage (transport) of protein hydrosylate products as dipeptides and unbound amino acids across the lumen- and blood-facing membranes of intestinal absorptive cells. Data testing the relative efficiency of supplying protein as hydrolysates or specific dipeptides versus as free amino acids, and the response of animals in several physiological states to feeding of protein hydrolysates, are presented and reviewed in this chapter. Next, data describing the transport mechanisms responsible for absorbing protein hydrolysate digestion products, and the known and putative regulation of these mechanisms by their substrates (small peptides) and hormones are presented and reviewed. Several conclusions are drawn regarding the efficient use of protein hydrolysate-based diets for particular physiological states, the economically-practical application of which likely will depend on technological advances in the manufacture of protein hydrolysate products.


Milk by-products Ovalbumin Protein absorption Peptides PepT1 Substrate regulation Hormonal regulation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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