The quality of a protein is defined by its ability to support growth in animals. Higher-quality protein produces a faster growth rate. Such growth rate measurements evaluate the actual factors important in a protein: (a) pattern and abundance of essential amino acids, (b) relative amounts of nonessential and essential amino acids in the mixture, (c) digestibility when eaten, and (d) presence of toxic materials such as trypsin inhibitors or allergenic stimuli. Methods of determining the quality of a formula or protein source have generally fallen into two categories: empiric biologic assays and scoring systems.
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