British Journal of Nutrition

Papers on General Nutrition

Protein turnover in growing pigs. Effects of age and food intake

P. J. Reedsa1, A. Cadenheada1, M. F. Fullera1, G. E. Lobleya1 and J. D. McDonalda1

a1 Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB2 9SB


1. Measurements were made of the nitrogen and energy balances of pigs of 30, 60 and 90 kg given a conventional diet at various daily rates.

2. Body protein synthesis was estimated from the irreversible loss of leucine from the blood following the infusion of [1-14C]leucine, and from the oxidation of the labelled amino acid.

3. Protein synthesis (g/d) increased by 2.17 for each 1 g increase in daily protein accretion and by 1.55 for each 1 g increase in daily protein intake.

4. At 30 kg, pigs close to energy equilibrium synthesized 270 g protein daily compared with 406 g and 512 g when their ration supplied twice and three times their maintenance requirement.

5. There was a close correlation between the daily urinary excretion of urea + ammonia and total amino acid catabolism estimated from the catabolism of leucine, but the latter underestimated the observed excretion by 2.5 g N/d.

6. The results imply that protein turnover accounts for only a proportion of the heat production associated with protein deposition.

(Received June 20 1979)

(Accepted October 25 1979)