Actinidin from kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) increases the digestion and rate of gastric emptying of meat proteins in the growing pig

Br J Nutr. 2014 Mar 28;111(6):957-67. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513003401. Epub 2013 Nov 19.


The present study aimed to investigate the effect of dietary actinidin on the kinetics of gastric digestion of beef muscle proteins and on the rate of stomach emptying in growing pigs. For this purpose, 120 pigs (mean body weight 28 (sd 2·9) kg) were fed beef muscle protein-based diets containing either actinidin (fresh green kiwifruit pulp or gold kiwifruit pulp supplemented with purified actinidin) or no actinidin (fresh gold kiwifruit pulp or green kiwifruit pulp with inactivated actinidin). Additionally, fifteen pigs were fed with a protein-free diet to determine the endogenous protein flow. Pigs were euthanised at exactly 0·5, 1, 3, 5 and 7 h postprandially (n 6 per time point for each kiwifruit diet and n 3 for protein-free diet). Stomach chyme was collected for measuring gastric retention, actinidin activity, individual beef muscle protein digestion based on SDS-PAGE and the degree of hydrolysis based on the appearance of free amino groups. The stomach emptying of DM and N was faster when actinidin was present in the diet (P< 0·05): the half gastric emptying time of DM was 137 v. 172 min ( ± 7·4 min pooled standard error) for the diets with and without actinidin, respectively. The presence of dietary actinidin in the stomach chyme increased the digestion of beef muscle protein (P< 0·05) and, more specifically, those proteins with a high molecular weight (>34 kDa; P< 0·05). In conclusion, dietary actinidin fed in the form of fresh green kiwifruit increased the rate of gastric emptying and the digestion of several beef muscle proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / administration & dosage*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / analysis
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Digestion / drug effects*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Gastric Emptying / drug effects*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Swine / physiology*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • actinidain