Date: 10/09/2020

Hydrolyzed proteins present several advantages in terms of optimizing the physical, chemical, and nutritional properties of non-hydrolyzed proteins.

One of them is the fact that as a consequence of being previously digested and also because it is a final product, they are rich in peptides and/or amino acids. This facilitates digestion and absorption by the digestive tract.

In this way, it is an ingredient that presents good performance to be inserted in pet food.

A promising application in pet food is chicken protein hydrolysate. It is considered an ingredient with high protein content and which has an excellent balance of all the amino acids necessary for the good development of animals.

In addition, it has high digestibility and palatability, as well as it is considered hypoallergenic. In other words, it is less likely to cause allergic reactions and also guarantees animals tasty and nutrient-rich food, which provides them with a higher quality of life and longevity.

Next, we will learn more about hydrolyzed proteins and the possibilities of applying chicken protein hydrolysate in pet food.

Hydrolyzed proteins

Protein hydrolysis can be performed through physical, chemical, and enzymatic methods. The enzymatic method is considered the most advantageous and efficient since enzymatic catalysis provides a more selective reaction, occurs in mild process conditions, thus preventing protein degradation.

Enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins can be used to improve the physical, chemical, and functional properties of food. The reaction enables the breaking of peptide bonds of proteins, generating smaller molecules, such as peptides and amino acids. As a result, it makes the molecules less complex and facilitates their absorption by the pets’ organism.

Another aspect is the improvement in nutritional properties since hydrolysis provides advantages in functional properties. The term “functionality” has been applied to refer to the non-nutritive properties that give food greater convenience in handling, better appearance in presentation, and better acceptance by the consumer.

The functionality will depend on the following properties:

  • Hydration properties: dependent on interactions with water such as solubility, dispersibility, adsorption, water retention, and succulence;
  • Properties dependent on the interaction between macromolecules, as well as between macromolecules and water: gelation, texture, and formation of viscoelastic structures;
  • Surface properties: dependent on the formation of bipolar films at the interface between two immiscible phases such as emulsifying and thickening properties;
  • Properties that relate to the size and shape of the molecules or particles in suspension such as viscosity and tactile sensation.

The hydrolytic process and the reaction conditions differ between the enzymes that are applied and the substrate used. It also depends on the desired properties for the hydrolysate that will be obtained.

After defining the enzyme and substrate, it is essential to optimize the reaction conditions, so that the process is efficient and suitable for generating the desired product. This reaction involves several parameters, such as pH, temperature, pressure, agitation, among others.

It is possible to obtain hydrolyzed proteins from different raw materials, both of vegetable and animal origin. However, hydrolyzed proteins of animal origin provide pets with greater healthiness from the nutritional point of view, as they present an adequate balance of essential amino acids and bioactive peptides in their composition.

Chicken protein hydrolysate

Our Chicken Protein Hydrolysate is made of animal origin ingredients, such as chicken guts, chicken giblets, and chicken meat. The product is considered a functional protein specially formulated to improve the performance of animal feeds.

Its main benefits are the high protein content of at least 75%, balanced amino acid profile, fresh raw material, natural origin, highly palatable, high digestibility, and hypoallergenic properties.

We are going to address these advantages more clearly below:

Presence of Bioactive Peptides

Chicken protein hydrolysate is produced through the enzymatic hydrolysis process, which generates smaller chains of amino acids and bioactive peptides.

As an article published in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology reports, bioactive peptides are compounds that have beneficial functions for the immune system, since they have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-adipogenic, and anti-hypertensive activities, among others.

Peptides contained in the chicken protein hydrolysate are capable of improving the absorption of the food in which they are inserted and, because they benefit the immune system, they end up contributing to a healthier development, increasing the animal’s survival rate.


Chicken protein hydrolysate prevents allergic reactions in pets because it has smaller peptide chains and low molecular weight, due to enzymatic hydrolysis.

High palatability

Chicken protein hydrolysate has a naturally differentiated palatability, that is, it is more pleasant to the animals’ taste. This is due to the high content of low molecular weight peptides and about 15% free amino acids.

High digestibility

Because it is 95% digestible, it is a rapidly absorbed protein by the organism. For example, in a test performed with the inclusion of 4% of chicken protein hydrolysate, there was a 12% reduction in the volume of feces.

High protein content

This is considered one of the main benefits of this type of protein. It has at least 75% crude protein, favoring several functions in the body, including:

  • Oxygen transport;
  • Protection against pathogenic organisms;
  • Growth and formation of hormones.

Optimal freshness

Chicken protein hydrolysate is processed in a few hours, which guarantees optimal freshness and preservation of the nutritional value.

Chicken protein hydrolysate in pet nutrition

Proteins are basic nutrients when it comes to the feeding of domestic animals, especially dogs and cats. This is because these animals have specific nutritional needs, which must be taken into account when developing appropriate and balanced feed formulations.

The ideal amount of protein varies according to the species and the age of the animal. However, regardless of the specific nutritional requirements of each species, the parameters that define the quality of a protein are the same for all, being those:

  1. Amino acid composition: there must be a balance that takes into account the ideal ratio between essential amino acids. For dogs and cats, for example, these consist of arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine;
  2. Digestibility: defined as the difference between the amount of protein offered in the diet and the amount excreted in the feces. Basically, what the animal’s body will actually use from the protein that has been ingested;
  3. Palatability: measured by the amount of feed ingested by the animal. Food needs to be attractive so that pets have the initial stimulus to ingest them;
  4. The presence of anti-nutritional factors: this parameter is recommended to be evaluated, especially when the protein source is of vegetable origin. These substances, when present, reduce the nutritional value of the ingredient, as they hinder the absorption of nutrients.

Regarding these factors that define the quality of a protein for feeding domestic animals, chicken protein hydrolysate proves to be a great alternative as an ingredient, as it fulfills the mentioned required requirements, such as its amido acids composition, digestibility, palatability, and hypoallergenicity.


Digestibility is the relative amount of nutrients within a specific food that becomes available to the body after digestion and absorption.

According to a study published in Vet Times, the digestibility of pet food is determined in feeding studies. Usually, for a specific nutrient, it is calculated from the daily amount consumed minus the amount excreted in the feces. This value is divided by the total amount consumed to provide a coefficient or percentage.

The same research shows that in the feeding of dogs and cats the digestibility of proteins must be greater than 80%. Digestibility is influenced by the source and quality of the ingredients, as well as processing and quantity of food supplied to the animal.

Animal proteins, such as meat, eggs, and dairy products are highly digestible by pets, while cereal grains are less digestible unless they are cooked and extruded.

Excessive dietary fiber can substantially suppress digestibility, increase fecal volume, and the frequency of defecation. Products with low digestibility can cause an increase in the number of feces with weak consistency, while foods with very high digestibility result in small amounts of dry stools with a risk of constipation and excessive effort.

Also according to the research published in Vet Times, the digestibility of nutrients is not affected by the size and breed of the dog, nevertheless a lower digestibility has been reported in newborn puppies. However, they do reach digestibility values ​​for adult dogs after around six months. In addition, elderly dogs also have reduced digestibility values.

Through in vivo tests on dogs, chicken protein hydrolysate showed an apparent digestibility coefficient of 92% of the crude protein. The inclusion of 4% chicken protein hydrolysate in the diet decreased the number of feces by 12% when compared to the group fed with a control diet that used conventional poultry meal with low ash content.


Palatability for dogs and cats is a measure of the intake of food, which indicates acceptance or measurement of the preference of one food over another. It is related to sensory factors, such as taste, texture, and odor.

The pet food palatability test is most commonly performed using a single bowl or two bowls – evaluating the dog’s first choice.

This characteristic directly affects the type of relationship the animal will have with its food. In some cases, when the sensory characteristics are not approved by the pet, it may refuse to eat, affecting its weight and causing its tutor to change the brand of the food.

The feed tested with 30% chicken protein hydrolysate showed high palatability in dogs, being more attractive when compared to the control sample without the addition of this ingredient. The test was performed using the two bowls approach.


A formulation with hypoallergenic ingredients in pet food means that you are less likely to have an allergic reaction. This is because it contains less or none of the allergenic ingredients that pets can react to.

A hypoallergenic food usually does not contain wheat, beef, and dairy products. Sometimes it can also exclude soy, artificial colors, and preservatives. Soy has some anti-nutritional factors, such as lecithin, phytate, and trypsin inhibitors. Therefore, in order to be used in pet food, this type of ingredient must first undergo a heat treatment to make such substances inactive.

Another reason that can cause food allergies in animals is the absorption of proteins with high molecular weight. Even after digestion and/or cooking, the digestibility of these proteins can cause allergic reactions in pets with food sensitivities.

One of the most efficient alternatives to avoid allergic reactions in ped food is the use of ingredients that are produced by enzymatic hydrolysis, because this chemical reaction breaks a molecule into smaller chains, generating peptides and amino acids that are easily digestible.

The peptides with a molecular mass lower than 8000 Da origin from highly hydrolyzed proteins and are frequently used in hypoallergenic formulations.

In the Chicken Protein Hydrolysate, all peptides formed by the hydrolysis process have a molecular mass below 3000 Da, while other non-hydrolyzed compounds are mostly above 12000 Da. Thus, chicken protein hydrolysate can be considered a hypoallergenic ingredient for application in pet food.


Proteins are important components for maintaining the nutrition of pets, especially dogs and cats. However, they must be present in the diet in a balanced and biologically active way.

Chicken Protein Hydrolysate is a great alternative for application in pet diet. This ingredient has great potential, due to the balance of essential amino acids and the presence of bioactive peptides that fulfill essential functions in the animal organism. It is worth mentioning that this is an ingredient that has a high digestibility and palatability index, in addition to being hypoallergenic.

Therefore, chicken protein hydrolysate can be considered an ingredient that enriches the diets of domestic animals, providing them with greater healthiness, well-being, and longevity.