Values for digestible indispensable amino acid scores (DIAAS) for some dairy and plant proteins may better describe protein quality than values calculated using the concept for protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS)

Br J Nutr. 2017 Feb;117(4):490-499. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517000125.


An experiment was conducted to compare values for digestible indispensable amino acid scores (DIAAS) for four animal proteins and four plant proteins with values calculated as recommended for protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS), but determined in pigs instead of in rats. Values for standardised total tract digestibility (STTD) of crude protein (CP) and standardised ileal digestibility (SID) of amino acids (AA) were calculated for whey protein isolate (WPI), whey protein concentrate (WPC), milk protein concentrate (MPC), skimmed milk powder (SMP), pea protein concentrate (PPC), soya protein isolate (SPI), soya flour and whole-grain wheat. The PDCAAS-like values were calculated using the STTD of CP to estimate AA digestibility and values for DIAAS were calculated from values for SID of AA. Results indicated that values for SID of most indispensable AA in WPI, WPC and MPC were greater (P<0·05) than for SMP, PPC, SPI, soya flour and wheat. With the exception of arginine and tryptophan, the SID of all indispensable AA in SPI was greater (P<0·05) than in soya flour, and with the exception of threonine, the SID of all indispensable AA in wheat was less (P<0·05) than in all other ingredients. If the same scoring pattern for children between 6 and 36 months was used to calculate PDCAAS-like values and DIAAS, PDCAAS-like values were greater (P<0·05) than DIAAS values for SMP, PPC, SPI, soya flour and wheat indicating that PDCAAS-like values estimated in pigs may overestimate the quality of these proteins.

Keywords: AA amino acids; CP crude protein; DIAAS digestible indispensable amino acid score; MPC milk protein concentrate; PDCAAS protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score; PPC pea protein concentrate; SID standardised ileal digestibility; SMP skimmed milk powder; SPI soya protein isolate; STTD standardised total tract digestibility; WPC whey protein concentrate; WPI whey protein isolate; Amino acids; Dairy protein; Digestible indispensable amino acid scores; Plant protein; Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Essential / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / standards
  • Digestion*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Glycine max / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Ileum / metabolism*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pisum sativum / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Edible / chemistry*
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Soybean Proteins / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Triticum / chemistry
  • Vegetable Products / standards*
  • Whey Proteins / metabolism


  • Amino Acids, Essential
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Whey Proteins