Amino Acids

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 29–41 | Cite as

Advances in protein–amino acid nutrition of poultry

  • David H. Baker
Review Article


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 (7× 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.


Glycine Ideal protein Sulfur amino acids Methionine Cysteine S-Methylmethionine Guanidinoacetate 





Crude protein


Distillers dried grain with solubles


Guanidinoacetic acid




dl-2-hydroxy-4-(methylthio) butyric acid


Sulfur amino acid




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.290 ASL, Department of Animal Sciences and Division of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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