Feedinfo Interview: What’s New in Protein Kinetics? Hamlet Protein Explains

Interview with Jessika van Leeuwen PhD MSc – Global Category Manager Swine, Hamlet Protein. Originally published on Feedinfo, October 2023.

Simply put, the faster the protein source, the more readily available it becomes for the animal.

Protein kinetics is the scientific term that explains the dynamics of the digestion and absorption of protein coming from the diet and is a new way of evaluating protein sources. Protein sources used to be qualified based upon their protein content and digestibility, but as it turns out different protein sources can have a similar protein content and digestibility but differ largely in the location in the gut where that protein is digested and absorbed.

Hamlet Protein nutritionists have been focusing on the protein kinetics concept in recent times and are making promising discoveries in terms of feed efficiency, protein deposition and biological value in animals.

We spoke to Dr. Jessika van Leeuwen, Global Category Manager for Swine, to find out more.

[Jessika van Leeuwen] Recent research shows that the faster a protein is digested and absorbed the more of it will be used for deposition in organs and tissues. Consequently, less protein will go to waste and is excreted as nitrogen. This results in better growth performance but also in a reduction of nitrogen excretion into the environment. Therefore, protein kinetics is a more accurate description of what actually happens with the protein inside the animal than digestibility alone as protein kinetics considers not only that a protein is digested but also where it is digested, and the resulting amino acids are absorbed.

[Jessika van Leeuwen] Hamlet Protein has established cooperation with some of the most renowned researchers in the field of protein kinetics and investigated the in vitro protein kinetics for many different protein sources and subsequently verified these findings in the field. The results of these efforts were very surprising. First, big differences in protein kinetics exist between different protein sources. Some of the protein sources that are generally considered as highly digestible for young animals like soy protein concentrates, potato protein and fish meal turned out to be much less favourable when it comes to speed of digestion and absorption. Secondly, when formulating diets on fast versus slow protein the growth performances of the animals were much better for the fast protein diets.

[Jessika van Leeuwen] Speed of digestion and absorption is always important for growing animals but becomes even more important when formulating diets with low CP using synthetic amino acids. As some of these formulations are so tight in CP that some of the AA risk to go under the requirement, especially during periods of (immunological) stress, it is crucial that most of the AA coming from the diet can be used and do not go to waste. Moreover, research also emphasises the importance of simultaneous delivery of AA both coming from synthetic supplementation and coming from the dietary protein sources. So, to put it simple, when using synthetic amino acids, a fast dietary protein source in the diet is also required.

[Jessika van Leeuwen] The results from our research show that the unique production process of Hamlet Protein using enzymatic treatment does not only effectively reduce the content of anti-nutritional factors but also modifies protein characteristics in such a way that it becomes easier accessible for proteolytic enzymes, resulting in a very fast digestible protein source. Protein from Hamlet Protein hydrolyzes faster than soybean meal and a lot faster than protein from soy protein concentrates. It was also faster than animal proteins like fishmeal, and as fast as blood plasma.

[Jessika van Leeuwen] Of course, Hamlet Protein is not the only one working with the benefits of protein kinetics. The difference between the Hamlet Protein approach and that of other commercial companies is that where the other companies keep the knowledge to themselves and use it to formulate better diets for their customers, we actually make the knowledge about the digestion speed of protein sources available to our customers so they can make use of this to optimise their diets. Furthermore, we offer them the fastest vegetal protein source to help them to improve the protein kinetics of their diets.

[Jessika van Leeuwen] Protein kinetics adds another quality criterium to protein source evaluation. Future dietary formulations will have a kinetics requirement to it where not only the speed of protein digestion and absorption, but also those of other nutrients and their interactions are considered. We are ready to support our customers worldwide to adapt to these new requirements and offer a high-tech fast protein solution.

Discover the benefits of fast protein kinetics

The use of fast protein improves production efficiency and growth performance. Faster protein digestion leads to a faster absorption of amino acids after feeding, which increases the protein availability for tissues, milk and organs. The resulting rapid and synchronized absorption of amino acids increases protein deposition and thus reduces feed conversion rate.

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Providing the right nutrition in the first life stage determines the overall lifetime performance of the animal. Our soy-based specialty ingredients improve health, welfare and performance of young animals. That is how we deliver a strong return on investment to producers around the world.