Protein Digestion and Quality of Goat and Cow Milk Infant Formula and Human Milk Under Simulated Infant Conditions

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The aim of this study was to determine the kinetics of true ileal protein digestion and digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) of a goat milk-based infant formula (GIF), a cow milk-based infant formula (CIF), and human milk (HM).


The GIF, CIF, and HM were investigated in an in vitro gastrointestinal model simulating infant conditions. Digested compounds were dialyzed from the intestinal compartment as bioaccessible fraction. Dialysate was collected in 15 to 60-minute periods for 4 hours. True ileal protein digestibility and DIAAS were determined as bioaccessible nitrogen (N) and amino acids.


N bioaccessibility from the GIF showed similar kinetics to that of HM. The CIF showed a delay in N bioaccessibility versus the GIF and HM. In the 1st hour of digestion, N bioaccessibility was 19.9% ± 3.5% and 23.3% ± 1.3% for the GIF and HM, respectively, and 11.2% ± 0.6% for CIF (P < 0.05 vs HM). In the 3rd hour of digestion, the N bioaccessibility was higher (P < 0.05) for the CIF (28.9% ± 1.2%) than for the GIF (22.5% ± 1.6%) and HM (20.6% ± 1.0%). After 4 hours, the true ileal protein digestibility of the GIF, CIF, and HM was 78.3% ± 3.7%, 73.4% ± 2.7%, and 77.9% ± 4.1%, respectively. The DIAAS for the GIF, CIF, and HM for 0- to 6-month-old infants was 83%, 75%, and 77% for aromatic AA.


The protein quality is not different between the GIF, CIF, and HM, but the kinetics of protein digestion of the GIF is more comparable to that of HM than that of the CIF.

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