Methods for improving meat protein digestibility in older adults

Seung Yun Lee1, Ji Hyeop Kang1, Da Young Lee1, Jae Won Jeong1, Jae Hyeon Kim1, Sung Sil Moon2, Sun Jin Hur1
Author Information & Copyright
1Chung-Ang University, Anseong-si 17546, Korea.
2Sunjin Technology & Research Institute, Icheon 17332, Korea.

© Copyright 2023 Korean Society of Animal Science and Technology. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This review explores the factors that improve meat protein digestibility and applies the findings to the development of home meal replacements with improved protein digestion rates in older adults. Various methods improve the digestion rate of proteins, such as heat, ultrasound, high pressure, or pulse electric field. In addition, probiotics aid in protein digestion by improving the function of digestive organs and secreting enzymes. Plant-derived proteases, such as papain, bromelain, ficin, actinidin, or zingibain, can also improve the protein digestion rate; however, the digestion rate is dependent on the plant enzyme used and protein characteristics. Sous vide processing improves the rate and extent of protein digestibility, but the protein digestion rate decreases with increasing temperature and heating time. Ultrasound, high pressure, or pulsed electric field treatments degrade the protein structure and increase the proteolytic enzyme contact area to improve the protein digestion rate.

Keywords: Protein digestion; Meat; Gut microbiota; Proteolytic enzyme,; Sous vide