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J Agric Food Chem. 2016 May 25;64(20):4058-67. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b00967. Epub 2016 May 13.

Natural (15)N Abundance in Key Amino Acids from Lamb Muscle: Exploring a New Horizon in Diet Authentication and Assessment of Feed Efficiency in Ruminants.

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UMR 1213 Herbivores, INRA , F-63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle, France.
VetAgro Sup, UMR 1213 Herbivores, Clermont Université , B.P. 10448, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
Elucidation of Biosynthesis by Isotopic Spectrometry Group, CEISAM, UMR6230, CNRS-University of Nantes , B.P. 92208, F-44322 Nantes, France.


Natural (15)N abundance (δ(15)N) varies between individual amino acids (AAs). We hypothesized that δ(15)N of nontransaminating and essential AAs ("source" AAs, such as phenylalanine) present in animal tissues could be used as a marker of dietary origin, whereas δ(15)N of transaminating AAs ("trophic" AAs, such as glutamic acid) could give more detailed insights into animal feed efficiency. Two diets based on dehydrated Lucerne pellets were tested in growing lambs, which promoted different feed efficiencies. No dietary effects were noted on δ(15)N of any AAs analyzed in lamb muscle. In addition, δ(15)N of phenylalanine was unexpectedly similar to that of glutamic acid, suggesting that δ(15)N of AAs is significantly derived from the metabolism of the rumen microbiota and, thus, are not suited for diet authentication in ruminants. In contrast, the δ(15)N of transaminating AAs facilitates an improved prediction of animal feed efficiency compared to the classical isotopic bulk N analysis.


15N; authentication; feed efficiency; irm-GC/MS; ruminants

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