Two experiments were done to clarify whether or not cell rupture is necessary to improve the digestibility of major components of Chlorella vulgaris: K-5. Chlorella was treated with or without high pressure homogenization (1 × 108N/m2at less than -20°C) after a heating process (100-120°C). Chlorella (air-dry matter) contained 934 g dry matter and 244 g essential amino acids (total)/kg. Chemical composition was hardly altered irrespective of the treatment. In the first experiment, pepsin digestibility of chlorella protein was determined in vitro. The cell rupture by high pressure homogenization caused a small but significant improvement in pepsin digestibility of chlorella protein compared with the control. In the second experiment, total tract apparent digestibilities of chlorella were determined in the rat. Digestibility of chlorella protein was significantly enhanced by high pressure homogenization, but the difference (88.6% vs. 87.4%, P < 0.01) due to treatment was small and similar to that observed in the in vitro experiment. These results suggested that Chlorella strain vulgaris: K-5 may be an efficient protein source even without cell rupture. © 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.
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