This may sound trivial, but...

Protein is sourced from plants and animals. Pepsin and HCl digest meat (animal protein). Does pepsin also digest plant-based proteins?

I took a look at few articles online and this. None seems to explain what I am after.

  • $\begingroup$ What you probably are missing here is that plant proteins are fundamentally indifferent from animal proteins; both are polymers of amino acids, and pepsin just breaks these polymers into oligomers (or monomers). $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Nov 17 '17 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @another'Homosapien' in this case, can we say that amount of the pepsin is required for plant protein cleaving is less than of meat and may I know why? $\endgroup$ – bonCodigo Nov 19 '17 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ well, you can't really answer this question without including a lot more variables. To say at the simplest level, enzymes are catalysts, so digesting both plant proteins and animal proteins requires quite similar amount of pepsin. Again, this is the simplest one you can get, the more details you add, the more complicated it gets. $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Nov 19 '17 at 15:23

Yes, pepsin does digest plant proteins also. Pepsin is a protein and its job is to cut other proteins (also known as polypeptides) into smaller pieces. Proteins are made of amino acids and there are 20 amino acids found in proteins. Pepsin cuts the bond between two amino acids to break the protein into smaller pieces. When pepsin encounters a tryptophan (Trp), tyrosine (Tyr), and/or phenylalanine (Phe), it cuts the bond between that amino acid and the one next one, as shown below. enter image description here

image source

Proteins from plants contain these amino acids so pepsin can cleave plant proteins.


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