1. Casein was labelled with pairs of radioactive amino acids, lysine, tyrosine and leucine, one with I4C and the other with 3H, by jugular infusion into lactating goats followed by isolation of the double-labelled casein from the milk. Total milk protein was similarly labelled by jugular infusion of [35S]cystine. U-14C-labelled fraction- 1 leaf protein was isolated from lucerne (Medicago sativa) grown in an atmosphere of 14C02
2. The proteins were treated withdifferent levels(333 and667 mmol/kgprotein) offormaldehyde, glutaraldehyde and glyoxal.
3. Absorption from the small intestine was measured in sheep with fistulas in the abomasum and terminal ileum, using Cr-EDTA as the digesta flow marker, by introducing radioactive casein into the abomasum.
4. Lysine, tyrosine and cystine became increasingly unavailable for absorption from the small intestine of sheep with increasing levels of aldehyde. At the lower level (333 mmol/kg) the proportions of the amino acids that were unavailable were 0.192, 0.051 and 0.123 respectively. At the higher level of formaldehyde (667 mmol/kg) the corresponding values were 0.335, 0.201 and 0.432 respectively. Leucine was not made unavailable with formaldehyde.
5. The proportions of lysine, tyrosine and leucine that were unavailable were higher, on a molar basis, after treatment of the proteins with the dialdehydes glutaraldehyde and glyoxal than after treatment with formaldehyde. However, the extent of protein protection provided by the dialdehydes in the rumen, measured using an in vitro procedure, was lower.