In vivo protein quality of selected cereal-based staple foods enriched with soybean proteins

  • Laura Acevedo-Pacheco
  • Sergio O. Serna-Saldivar Tecnologico de Monterrey
Keywords: Soybean proteins, corn tortillas, wheat flour tortillas, bread, PDCAAS, protein efficiency ratio, nitrogen retention,


Background: One way to diminish protein malnutrition in children is by enriching cereal-based flours for the manufacturing of maize tortillas, wheat flour tortillas, and yeast-leavened breads, which are widely consumed among low socio-economic groups.

Objective: The aim was to determine and compare the essential amino acid (EAA) scores, protein digestibility corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS), and in vivo protein quality (protein digestibility, protein efficiency ratio (PER), biological values (BV), and net protein utilization (NPU) values) of regular versus soybean-fortified maize tortillas, yeast-leavened bread, and wheat flour tortillas.

Design: To comparatively assess differences in protein quality among maize tortillas, wheat flour tortillas, and yeast-leavened breads, EAA compositions and in vivo studies with weanling rats were performed. The experimental diets based on regular or soybean-fortified food products were compared with a casein-based diet. Food intake, weight gains, PER, dry matter and protein digestibility, BV, NPU, and PDCAAS were assessed. The soybean-fortified tortillas contained 6% of defatted soybean flour, whereas the yeast-leavened bread flour contained 4.5% of soybean concentrate.

Results: The soybean-fortified tortillas and bread contained higher amounts of lysine and tryptophan, which improved their EAA scores and PDCAAS. Rats fed diets based on soybean-fortified maize or wheat tortillas gained considerably more weight and had better BV and NPU values compared with counterparts fed with respective regular products. As a result, fortified maize tortillas and wheat flour tortillas improved PER from 0.73 to 1.64 and 0.69 to 1.77, respectively. The PER improvement was not as evident in rats fed the enriched yeast-leavened bread because the formulation contained sugar that decreased lysine availability possibly to Maillard reactions.

Conclusions: The proposed enrichment of cereal-based foods with soybean proteins greatly improved PDCAAS, animal growth, nitrogen retention, and PER primarily in both maize and wheat flour tortillas. Therefore, these foods can help to diminish protein malnutrition among children who greatly depend on cereals as the main protein dietary source.

Keywords: soybean proteins; maize tortillas; wheat flour tortillas; bread; PDCAAS; protein efficiency ratio; nitrogen retention

(Published: 19 October 2016)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2016, 60: 31382 -


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Author Biography

Sergio O. Serna-Saldivar, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Centro de Biotecnología FEMSA, Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias.
How to Cite
Acevedo-Pacheco L., & Serna-Saldivar S. O. (2016). <em>In vivo</em&gt; protein quality of selected cereal-based staple foods enriched with soybean proteins. Food & Nutrition Research, 60.
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