Introduction: Delivery of low-cost, high-protein foods from local materials for weaning infants is a challenge for developing countries. The quality of nutritional protein of cereal/legume mixtures must be developed with an optimal nutrient profile. The current study was conducted to biologically evaluate (in rats) the protein found in two homemade foods and a commercial weaning food.

Methods: Biological evaluation of the formulations was conducted in 21-day-old weanling Wistar rats, compared with a control diet of casein. The nutrient quality of the weaning foods were monitored by measuring protein efficiency ratio (PER), net protein ratio (NPR), relative net protein ratio (RNPR), true digestibility (TD), apparent digestibility (AD), and food efficiency ratio (FER).

Results: The TD value of one kind of pasta (Sww1+ SBG) was significantly less than casein (P< 0.001) and Humana (P< 0.01). FER value of the first pasta diet (Sww1 + SBG) was significantly less than casein (P<0.01) and Humana (P< 0.05) and its PER value was significantly less than Humana (P<0.01) and casein (P<0.001). There were no significant differences in TD and FER values between the pasta diet (Sww1 + SBG) and Humana group (P>0.05), but its PER was significantly less than Humana (P<0.05).

Conclusions: Our findings showed that the second kind of homemade food (Sww2 + SBG), consisting of a ratio of 50 percent soy bean protein-granulate and 50 percent pasta based on wheat flour protein, has high protein quality and is similar to commercial weaning food. It can support the growth of infants in developing countries during the critical weaning period.

Key words: Protein quality; Pasta; Soy bean; Commercial weaning food  
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