A diet-switching experiment, which aimed to improve the utilization of soyabean whey was carried out for 61 d with young rats. Feeding was arranged in such a way that after a few days on the soyabean diet, the rats were switched to a high-quality lactalbumin diet for a short period, after whicb the cycle was repeated several times. The weights of the rats at the end of the soyabean phases were significantly less than those of animals pair-fed on a high-quality diet throughout. However, the test group regained the weight loss after switching to the lactalbumin diet. After three cycles there were no significant differences between the weights of the test rats fed on a poor soyabean diet for over a third of the experiment and those fed on the lactalbumin diet throughout. Feed conversion was always significantly higher with test rats in the lactalbumin period than with continually pair-fed controls. Similarly, faecal N losses were significantly higher for test rats in the soyabean phase, but these differences disappeared after switching to the lactalbumin diet. At the end of the experiment there were no significant differences in body protein or lipids between the groups although the pancreas was significantly heavier while the liver was lighter in soyabean-fed rats. The high destruction of trypsin inhibitors in the gut suggests that they probably had little effect on protein digestion in the gut. In contrast, as selective depletion of the agglutinin from soyabean whey removed the nutritional benefit in the lactalbumin part of the cycle, the improved feed conversion in this period must have been the result mainly of the survival and functionality of soyabean agglutinin and the benefits due to the hyperplastic growth and faster renewal of the gut surface it induced. As processing is unnecessary, this novel method is cheap and can be easily adapted for the use of soyabean whey, regarded as a waste product.
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