Introduction

Proteins are macromolecules consisting of one or more polypeptide chains synthesized from amino acids. A peptide may contain approximately 40 to more than 400 a-amino acids. The word protein originated from the Greek ''proteios,'' meaning prime or primary. This is very appropriate, since proteins are the most fundamental component of animal tissues. Proteins play important roles in the body, including their roles in enzyme-catalyzed reactions, muscle contraction, hormone-mediated effects, cell structure, immune response, oxygen storage and transport, nutrition, metabolic regulation, and gene expression. The balance between protein synthesis and degradation determines whether a tissue grows or atrophies. Thus, knowledge of protein biochemistry and nutrition is of enormous importance for both animal agriculture and medicine.

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