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Amino Acids. 2009 May;37(1):29-41. doi: 10.1007/s00726-008-0198-3. Epub 2008 Nov 14.

Advances in protein-amino acid nutrition of poultry.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences and Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois, 1207 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


The ideal protein concept has allowed progress in defining requirements as well as the limiting order of amino acids in corn, soybean meal, and a corn-soybean meal mixture for growth of young chicks. Recent evidence suggests that glycine (or serine) is a key limiting amino acid in reduced protein [23% crude protein (CP) reduced to 16% CP] corn-soybean meal diets for broiler chicks. Research with sulfur amino acids has revealed that small excesses of cysteine are growth depressing in chicks fed methionine-deficient diets. Moreover, high ratios of cysteine:methionine impair utilization of the hydroxy analog of methionine, but not of methionine itself. A high level of dietary L: -cysteine (2.5% or higher) is lethal for young chicks, but a similar level of DL: -methionine, L: -cystine or N-acetyl-L: -cysteine causes no mortality. A supplemental dietary level of 3.0% L: -cysteine (7x requirement) causes acute metabolic acidosis that is characterized by a striking increase in plasma sulfate and decrease in plasma bicarbonate. S-Methylmethionine, an analog of S-adenosylmethionine, has been shown to have choline-sparing activity, but it only spares methionine when diets are deficient in choline and(or) betaine. Creatine, or its precursor guanidinoacetic acid, can spare dietary arginine in chicks.

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