Protein quality has been identified by international authorities to be of importance to human health and wellbeing. Protein nutritional quality is related to the capacity of different food sources to supply amino acids and nitrogen to support a myriad of functions in the human body. To determine protein nutritional quality of foods, the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) was in 2014 recommended as the golden standard by FAO (FAO, 2014). This score requires the determination of true ileal amino acid digestibility.
The international Proteos project, led by Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan (Riddet Institute, New Zealand), aims to develop a database containing values for true ileal amino acid digestibility of individual amino acids for a large number of commonly consumed foods. The Proteos project is a collaboration between the Riddet Institute (Massey University, New Zealand), the University of Illinois (U.S.A.), AgroParisTech (France) and Wageningen University (The Netherlands).
In the initial two phases of this project, it was shown that the pig is a suitable model for determining human ileal amino acid digestibility. Moreover, inter- and intra-laboratory reproducibility was assessed where Wageningen University assessed the true ileal amino acid digestibility of 10 protein sources in ileal cannulated pigs as well as two protein sources in human ileostomates. In Proteos phase III, the true ileal amino acid digestibility of 90 protein sources will be determined, of which 25 protein sources will be assessed by Wageningen University.