Comparison of True Ileal Amino Acid Digestibility between Adult Humans and Growing Pigs

Suzanne M. Hodgkinson*, Natascha Stroebinger, Nikkie van der Wielen, Marco Mensink, Carlos Montoya, Wouter H. Hendriks, Sonja de Vries, Hans H. Stein, Paul J. Moughan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It is not feasible to determine the true ileal amino acid (AA) digestibility of protein sources in humans on a routine basis, and the growing pig has been recommended as an animal model for this purpose but requires further validation.
Objectives: To determine and compare true ileal AA digestibility between adult human ileostomates and growing cannulated pigs for a range of food proteins.
Methods: Seven protein sources (black beans, bread, collagen, pigeon peas, wheat bran, whey protein isolate, and zein) that spanned the range of digestibilities typically seen in foods were evaluated. Six female growing pigs received each of the protein sources, as well as a protein-free diet, and digesta were collected via ileal T-cannula. Adult human ileostomates consumed the same protein sources (5–8 ileostomates, depending on the protein source), as well as a protein-free diet, and digesta were collected. Titanium dioxide and celite were included in the diets as indigestible markers. True ileal AA digestibility coefficients were determined.
Results: There was a significant effect of protein source (P ≤ 0.001) for all AAs. The effect of species was not significant (P > 0.05) except for total lysine (but not for available lysine). When analyzed within diets, the statistically significant species effect for true lysine digestibility was found for black beans only. Pig and human digestibility values were generally highly and significantly (P ≤ 0.05) correlated. A linear regression equation derived for true ileal AA digestibility (given as coefficients) determined in the human and pig for the overall mean of all AAs was (y = human, x = pig) y = 1.00x – 0.010, with the slope not statistically significant (P > 0.05) from unity and the intercept not different (P > 0.05) from zero.
Conclusions: True ileal AA digestibility values determined in the growing pig can be directly used for predicting digestibility in adult humans.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbernxac077
Pages (from-to)1635-1646
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2022


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