Macronutrient composition, true metabolizable energy and amino acid digestibility, and indispensable amino acid scoring of pulse ingredients for use in canine and feline diets

Lauren M. Reilly, Patrick C. Von Schaumburg, Jolene M. Hoke, Gary M. Davenport, Pamela L. Utterback, Carl M. Parsons, Maria R.C. De Godoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rising consumer demand for alternative and sustainable protein sources drives the popularity of the use of plant-based proteins in the pet food industry. Pulse crops, which include beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas, have become an important addition to both human and animal diets due to their protein content and functional properties. However, knowledge of their nutrient composition and protein quality is necessary for the proper formulation of these ingredients in pet foods. The objective of this study was to determine the macronutrient composition and standardized amino acid digestibility and to describe the protein quality through the use of digestible indispensable amino acid scores (DIAAS-like) of five pulse ingredients. Black bean (BB) grits, garbanzo beans (GB), green lentils (GL), navy bean (NB) powder, and yellow peas (YP) were analyzed for dry matter (DM), ash and organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP), gross energy (GE), acid hydrolyzed fat (AHF), and total dietary fiber (TDF) to determine the macronutrient composition. Precision-fed rooster assays were conducted using cecectomized roosters to calculate standardized amino acid digestibility and true metabolizable energy corrected for nitrogen (TMEn). The essential amino acids, with the exception of methionine, were highly digestible with digestibility values of 80% to 90% (dry matter basis) for all selected pulse ingredients. BB grits had the lowest (P < 0.05) digestibility of arginine (86.5%) and histidine (80.6%) in contrast to GB (94.9% and 89.9%, respectively). The TMEn of GB was highest (P < 0.05) at 3.56 kcal/g compared with the other pulses. The DIAAS-like values for adult dogs were consistently the lowest for methionine for all pulses, making it the first-limiting amino acid in these ingredients. The DIAAS-like values for adult cats showed GL had lowest (P < 0.05) score in tryptophan compared with other pulses when using both AAFCO values and NRC recommended allowances as reference proteins. Methionine was the first-limiting amino acid for YP and tryptophan for GL. Based on macronutrient composition, protein quality, and amino acid digestibility, it can be concluded that pulse ingredients have the required nutritional characteristics to be viable protein sources in canine and feline foods. However, the use of complementary protein sources is recommended to counterbalance any potential limiting amino acids in pulse ingredients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskaa149
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 31 2019


  • amino acid digestibility
  • cat
  • cecectomized rooster
  • dog
  • protein
  • pulses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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