Methods for Improving Cereal Protein Quality

  • Edwin T. Mertz
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 105)


Three methods for improving cereal protein quality are discussed. Two older methods are supplmentation with limiting essential amino acids and with protein concentrates high in those amino acids. The most recent method (since 1964) is the replacement of the normal cereal grain with its high lysine mutant counterpart. Three high lysine cereals are now available, corn, barley, and sorghum. In animal feeding, least cost formulas will determine which of the three improvement methods will be used. In human nutrition, cost, availability, palatability and acceptance are all equally important factors.

In animals, pounds of gain per pound of feed will be the final measure of cereal protein quality. In humans, especially preschool children, the most important criterion will be the ability of the improved cereal protein to build a strong immune defense system. Animal studies show that protein quality is more important than calories when calories are restricted to less than ad libitum consumption. It is therefore essential that children restricted in their total energy intake have the best cereal protein quality possible to protect their immune system.


Preschool Child Soybean Meal Protein Quality Limit Amino Acid High Lysine 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin T. Mertz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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