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Understanding amino acid functionality to advance precision nutrition and sustainability goals in poultry production

Rochell, S.
September 2022

To meet evolving sustainability goals, commercial poultry producers have been charged with reducing dietary protein concentrations in attempt to mitigate excess nitrogen excretion and runoff. Given that modern broilers have robust needs for digestible amino acids in their diet, maximizing the bird’s genetic potential for feed efficiency and carcass yield can be challenging when reduced protein diets are fed. Fortunately, additional feed-grade amino acids beyond those that that are typically the first three limiting (methionine, lysine, and threonine) in most poultry diets have become more widely available and economical for routine use. Despite being better able to meet essential amino acid requirements using these products, bird performance and meat yield are often impaired with extensive protein reductions, despite considerable research efforts over the last decade to support this strategy. Thus, it is becoming increasingly important to understand dietary needs for amino acids that are suspected to be limiting in reduce protein diets. Moreover, several of these amino acids, including glycine and arginine, have important functional roles beyond protein synthesis that are potentially influenced by several factors including health status and diet composition.

Thus, future research will likely need to evaluate outcomes beyond growth, feed efficiency, and meat yield to better understand the functional roles and overall die-tary needs for these amino acids.