Dietary actinidin from kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) increases gastric digestion and the gastric emptying rate of several dietary proteins in growing rats

J Nutr. 2014 Apr;144(4):440-6. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185744. Epub 2014 Jan 15.


Dietary actinidin influences the extent to which some dietary proteins are digested in the stomach, and it is hypothesized that the latter modulation will in turn affect their gastric emptying rate (GE). In this study, the effect of dietary actinidin on GE and gastric digestion of 6 dietary protein sources was determined in growing rats. Each dietary protein source [beef muscle, gelatin, gluten, soy protein isolate (SPI), whey protein isolate, and zein] was included in 2 semisynthetic diets as the sole nitrogen source. For each protein source, 1 of the 2 diets contained actinidin [76.5 U/g dry matter (DM)] in the form of ground freeze-dried green kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward), whereas the other diet contained freeze-dried gold kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis cv. Hort16A), which is devoid of actinidin (3.4 U/g DM). For both diets, dietary kiwifruit represented 20% of the diet on a DM basis. The real-time GE was determined in rats gavaged with a single dose of the diets using magnetic resonance spectroscopy over 150 min (n = 8 per diet). Gastric protein digestion was determined based on the free amino groups in the stomach chyme collected from rats fed the diets (n = 8 per diet) that were later killed. GE differed across the protein sources [e.g., the half gastric emptying time (T(½)) ranged from 157 min for gluten to 266 min for zein] (P < 0.05). Dietary actinidin increased the gastric digestion of beef muscle (0.6-fold), gluten (3.2-fold), and SPI (0.6-fold) and increased the GE of the diets containing beef muscle (43% T(½)) and zein (23% T(½); P < 0.05). There was an inverse correlation between gastric protein digestion and DM retained in the stomach (r = -0.67; P < 0.05). In conclusion, dietary actinidin increased gastric protein digestion and accelerated the GE for several dietary protein sources. GE may be influenced by gastric protein digestion, and dietary actinidin can be used to modulate GE and protein digestion in the stomach of some dietary protein sources but not others.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia / enzymology*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Digestion*
  • Freeze Drying
  • Fruit / enzymology
  • Gastric Emptying
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteolysis
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Zea mays / chemistry
  • Zein / metabolism


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Zein
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • actinidain