The protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score method overestimates quality of proteins containing antinutritional factors and of poorly digestible proteins supplemented with limiting amino acids in rats

J Nutr. 1997 May;127(5):758-64. doi: 10.1093/jn/127.5.758.


The validity of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) method in predicting the quality of fourteen protein products was compared with the commonly used protein quality methods, protein efficiency ratio (RER) and net protein ratio (NPR). A rat growth and balance study was conducted to determine protein digestibility and quality of the animal and vegetable protein products by the PER and NPR methods. Amino acid compositions of the products were also determined, and PDCAAS were calculated using a rat and a human pattern of amino acid requirements. Compared to the biological methods, the scoring method overestimated protein quality of mustard flour [PDCAAS of 84-92% vs. relative PER (RPER) or relative NPR (RNPR) of 0], raw black beans (PDCAAS of 45-72% vs. RPER or RNPR of 0), alkaline-treated lactalbumin and soybean protein isolate (PDCAAS of 44-67% vs. RPER or RNPR of 0) and heated skim milk (PDCAAS of 29-31% vs. RPER and RNPR of 0-5%). The scoring method also overestimated the protein quality of zein (true protein digestibility of 63%) supplemented with Lys, Met, Thr and Trp (PDCAAS of 63-71% vs. RPER and RNPR of 3-44%). These data demonstrate that the PDCAAS method is inappropriate for predicting protein quality of those protein sources which may contain naturally occurring growth-depressing factors or antinutritional factors formed during alkaline and/or heat processing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cystine / analysis
  • Cystine / metabolism
  • Cystine / pharmacology
  • Diet / standards
  • Dietary Proteins / analysis
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dietary Proteins / standards
  • Digestion / physiology
  • Food Analysis / methods*
  • Food, Fortified
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Growth / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lysine / analysis
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Lysine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Methionine / analysis
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Methionine / pharmacology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Threonine / analysis
  • Threonine / metabolism
  • Threonine / pharmacology
  • Tryptophan / analysis
  • Tryptophan / metabolism
  • Tryptophan / pharmacology


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Threonine
  • Cystine
  • Tryptophan
  • Methionine
  • Lysine