Nutritional Value of d-Amino Acids, d-Peptides, and Amino Acid Derivatives in Mice

  • Mendel FriedmanEmail author
  • Carol E. Levin
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 794)


This paper describes a method for determining the nutritional value of d-amino acids, d-peptides, and amino acid derivatives using a growth assay in mice fed a synthetic all-amino acid diet. A large number of experiments were carried out in which a molar equivalent of the test compound replaced a nutritionally essential amino acid such as l-lysine (l-Lys), l-methionine (l-Met), l-phenylalanine (l-Phe), and l-tryptophan (l-Trp) as well as the semi-essential amino acids l-cysteine (l-Cys) and l-tyrosine (l-Tyr). The results show wide-ranging variations in the biological utilization of test substances. The method is generally applicable to the determination of the biological utilization and safety of any amino acid derivative as a potential nutritional source of the corresponding l-amino acid. Because the organism is forced to use the d-amino acid or amino acid derivative as the sole source of the essential or semi-essential amino acid being replaced, and because a free amino acid diet allows better control of composition, the use of all-amino acid for such determinations may be preferable to protein-based diets.

Key words

d-Amino acids d-Peptides Amino acid derivatives Nutritional evaluation Bioavailability Toxicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Department of AgricultureWestern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research ServiceAlbanyUSA

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