Factors affecting endogenous amino acid flow in chickens and the need for consistency in methodology

S. A. Adedokun, O. Adeola, C. M. Parsons, M. S. Lilburn, T. J. Applegate

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Accurate estimation of ileal endogenous amino acid (EAA) losses is important when formulating diets on a standardized ileal digestible amino acid basis. In addition to the undigested and unabsorbed amino acids of dietary origin, amino acids of endogenous origin, which can be basal or diet specific, are found in digesta. The improvement in the techniques used in amino acid analysis as well as a shift from sampling excreta to ileal digesta has resulted in more accurate amino acid digestibility coefficients. Despite this, however, it is important to determine the amino acids in the digesta that are of endogenous origin. Although the need for standardization and its associated advantages is still subject to debate, it is important to evaluate how values from various methodologies compare. Several methods have been used to estimate ileal EAA flow. The classical methods, including the regression method, the use of nitrogen-free diet (NFD), and the fasted cecectomized rooster method, are the most widely used. The criticisms with the last 2 methods are that birds are not in a normal physiological state and the ileal EAA flow is, therefore, underestimated. Different methods have resulted in different endogenous flow estimates, with the NFD method having the lowest values when compared with flows from the regression and highly digestible protein methods. In addition to the influence of methods on ileal EAA flows, the influence of the age of the birds on flow is important. Data on EAA losses are copious in the literature; however, variation in data across and within laboratories calls for investigation of factors contributing to the variation. This review compares results from different methods and examines the issue of repeatability and consistency of EAA losses data from different laboratories. Finally, composition of an NFD for estimating EAA losses is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1737-1748
Number of pages12
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2011


  • Amino acid
  • Endogenous amino acid flow
  • Nitrogen-free diet
  • Poultry
  • Standardization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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