Calcium and phosphorus digestibility: Metabolic limits

S. A. Adedokun, O. Adeola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Calcium and phosphorus are the two most abundant macro minerals required for proper performance, growth, and production of poultry. Feed ingredients from plant sources are inadequate in meeting requirements for these minerals. To meet Ca and P requirements, inorganic sources of Ca and P are usually added to poultry diets. The potentially negative effects of excessive mineral excretion, especially P, have necessitated the need to minimize the amount of P that is excreted into the environment. One of the ways this has been addressed is through source reduction from exogenous phytase supplementation to diets that are marginally deficient in these minerals. A better understanding of the mechanisms involved in Ca and P metabolism in poultry is essential. Such information will help in formulating diets that closely meet the Ca and P needs of the bird with minimal excretion into the environment. This, however, will require a slightly different approach. One approach is diet formulation on a digestible Ca and P basis. Unlike for amino acids where digestion and absorption is minimally affected by physiological factors, parathyroid hormone and vitamin D3 play important roles in Ca and P metabolism. The critical roles played by vitamin D3 in Ca and P metabolism are enormous, and taking advantage of this could enhance Ca and P utilization. Therefore, a need to generate critical data that could expand our understanding of the important role vitamin D3 plays in Ca and P metabolism and the site of their absorption in the gut exists. Finally, the metabolic limits of Ca and P utilization in poultry will depend on many dietary and physiological factors that influence digestion, absorption, retention, and excretion of these minerals. The potential metabolic limit is expected to keep changing with the genetic improvement of birds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-608
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Poultry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Calcium
  • Metabolism
  • Phosphorus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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