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Could reduced crude protein (CP) diets reduce NH3 emission by 25% in chicken or pig farms? In today’s Animal Nutrition Insights, Redox’s Animal Nutritionist Dr Yumin Bao shares his research on amino acids and feed enzymes supplementation that could help to reduce the environmental impacts of poultry and pig production.

Poultry and swine farming has a significant environmental impact on climate change and air or water pollution. In the past decade, phytase, a feed grade enzyme, has been widely used in poultry and swine production to reduce inorganic phosphorus usage and pollution significantly. 

In recent years, the poultry and pig industry has successfully developed reduced crude protein (CP) diets by supplementing unbound crystalline L-LysineL-MethionineL-ThreonineL-tryptophanL-ValineL-Isoleucine and L-Arginine, but not compromising chicken and pig performance. It is estimated that each 10 g/kg CP reduction in pig farms could reduce NH3 by 10%, and in poultry, each 15 g/kg CP reduction might reduce NH3 by 16% (Cappelaere et al., 2021). 

Based on recent broiler chicken studies at the University of Sydney, apart from L-Lysine, L-Methionine and Threonine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Arginine are added to broiler chicken diets could further reduce CP by 15g/kg.        

However, it is noticed that in the current CP reduction strategy, feed formulation was conducted by digestible lysine concentration and then balanced with other digestible amino acids, and undigested CP was not considered in the feed formulation. 

It is well-known that adding exogenous feed enzymes in poultry and swine diets could overcome the adverse effects of antinutritional factors and improve the digestion of dietary nutrients. 

While Xylanase is becoming a norm in Australian wheat-based diets to reduce digesta viscosity in chicken or pig gut, adding Protease and Mannase has recently been demonstrated to improve dietary amino acids digestibility by 3% and increase chicken body weight gain by 5%, respectively. 

reduced crude protein diets

Body weight gain in response to Dig AME ratio

Therefore, under the current commercial conditions, adding protease and mannase could reduce Digestible Lysine concentration from 1.1% to 1.0% in the finisher period, roughly another 10-15 g/kg CP reduction. 

In conclusion, in the current poultry and swine diets with supplementation of L-Lysine, L-methionine and L-Threonine, further adding L-Valine, L-isoleucine, L-Arginine, protease, and mannase could reduce at least 25 g/kg CP and accordingly reducing NH3 emission by 25% in chicken or pig farms.

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Magnesium sulphate, often known as Epsom salt, is a versatile chemical utilised in various markets. With its long history, its use cases are as extensive as they are varied. 

In 1618, a villager named Henry Wicker at Epsom in England tried to provide his cattle water from a well. They refused to drink it because of the bitter flavour of the water. However, the farmer discovered that the water healed wounds and rashes. The fame of Epsom salts grew over time. 

Eventually, it was recognised to be magnesium sulphate, MgSO4.

How is magnesium sulphate used?

Primarily used as a foliar and irrigated fertiliser in the agriculture sector where it improves soil fertility, creating an environment conducive to growth.

Another industry it is commonly used in is the animal nutrition industry, where it is used in animal feed (feed grade) to aid the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids (fats) and proteins and for nerve activity and muscle contraction.

More recently, magnesium sulphate has experienced increased use in the pharmaceutical and health sectors with applications such as bath salts and isolation tanks.

It is even used as an active ingredient in pain-relieving lotions, creams and oils within the personal care industry.

Yet, there are instances of it being used in sectors as diverse as:

Magnesium Sulphate used in irrigated fertiliser

Magnesium Sulphate is primarily used as a foliar and irrigated fertiliser in the agriculture sector where it improves soil fertility, creating an environment conducive to growth.

The Redox advantage

Redox’s magnesium sulphate is available in various packing sizes, including 25kg bags and bulker bags, coming in a range of forms (heptahydrate, anhydrous, trihydrate, monohydrate) and conforming to many monographs (FCC, BP/USP, OMRI) 

At Redox, we take the time to understand our markets and employ a team of skilled specialists to help guide and advise our clients. Our scale efficiency allows us to keep expenses low. At the same time, our broad selection provides clients with a “one-stop-shop” alternative for services in many sectors.

Contact one of our experts to discover how Redox can be an essential element of your sourcing strategy.

Lysine was first isolated from milk protein by the German biological chemist Ferdinand Drechsel in 1889 and subsequently manufactured by German chemists Emil Fischer and Fritz Weigert some 12 years later.

It was a significant advancement since, unlike other amino acids, the human body cannot produce Lysine and therefore must be ingested via food. Meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and some plants such as soy are all excellent sources.

Lysine for animal feed

Plant-based diets generally contain low levels of Lysine, methionine, threonine, and other essential amino acids. Adding feed grade amino acids to diets can significantly improve animal performance and development.

Amino Acids in Animal Nutrition 

Lysine is used across various industries, including pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, and the cosmetics sectors; however, it is also an essential dietary supplement widely utilised to feed poultry, pigs, and other livestock.

Farm animals, in particular, chickens and pigs, are usually fed plant-based diets that generally contain low levels of Lysine, methionine, threonine, and other essential amino acids.

Deficiencies of these amino acids impede animal performance and development while impairing immunological function. As a result, in the 1960s, crystalline L-Lysine HCL crystals were produced commercially and made available for piglet diets to correct this issue.

Lysine is the most abundant essential amino acid in pigs’ and chickens’ skeletal muscle protein. Deficiencies in Lysine will limit muscle growth and divert Lysine away from immunological purposes, increasing mortality.

In typical wheat-barley-soybean based diets, Lysine is the first limiting amino acid for pigs and the second limiting amino acid for chickens. Any gap between the dietary lysine concentration and animal requirements needs to be fulfilled by adding crystalline L-Lysine or more soybean meal.

Adding more soybean meal will raise feed costs and other amino acid concentrations, resulting in protein loss as waste.

Lysine in the Market

Although currently it is produced from a corn starch base, genetic engineering research is actively pursuing bacterial strains to improve production efficiency and allow it to be made from other substrates.

Lysine fermentation by Corynebacterium glutamicum was developed in 1958 by Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. Ltd. and is the second oldest amino acid fermentation process after glutamate fermentation. The fundamental mechanism of lysine production, discovered in the early stages of the process’s history, gave birth to the concept known as “metabolic regulatory fermentation,” which is now widely applied to metabolite production.

Lysine production process

BESTAMINO L-lysine is produced by the advanced fermentation process using raw materials such as corn and sugar cane, thus combining sustainability and efficiency in animal nutrition.

Lysine production for animal feed is a primary global industry; according to Trygve Brautaset, who published his findings in All About Feed in 2010, Lysine output for animal feed is approximately 700,000 tons and has an estimated market value of over €1.22 billion.

By 2020 Lysine fermentation production was estimated to underpin a demand of more than 2.5 million metric tons per year.

We can help

Working with a reliable supplier is essential. Our exclusive partnership with Cheil Jedang Bio gives Redox exclusive access to Bestamino Lysine via their manufacturing facilities located across the world in China, Indonesia, Brazil, and the United States. We currently stock and supply our customers within Australia and New Zealand and are well-positioned to meet and exceed your needs.

To assure our customers get the best products at the best price, we can source Lysine in a variety of packing sizes across the entire range of L-Form Amino Acids, including:

Contact one of our industry specialists today and ask us what we can do for you for the best price and service on Lysine.

There is considerable interest in the development of reduced protein diets balanced with supplemental crystalline amino acids for broiler chickens due to economic, environmental and bird welfare advantages (Moss et al., 2018).

However, reduced protein diets may result in dietary amino acids being redistributed away from growth and production processes, toward intestinal cells involved in immune and inflammatory responses (Le Floc’h etal., 2004). In addition, an unbalanced supply of amino acids (AA) in the diet can be deleterious to the immune system (Li et al., 2007).

Thus, an ideal balance of AA is crucial for broiler chicken production in particular if birds are reared without antibiotics. All of the crystalline AA supplemented in commercial poultry production are in their natural form (L-form) except methionine (Met) (Esteve-Garcia and Khan, 2018). In poultry diets, Met is the first limiting amino acid and the dietary supplemental Met sources include L-Methionine (L-Met; 99% purity), its synthetic forms DL-methionine (DL-Met, 99% purity) and liquid DL-2-hytroxy-4-methylthio butanoic acid (DL-HMTBA, containing 88% of active substance).

All three sources of methionine are currently supplemented in poultry diets to meet birds total sulfur amino acids (TSAA) requirements.

Met Metabolism and Function

Met is an essential AA involved in multiple fundamental biological processes, including protein synthesis, transmethylation and the synthesis of homocysteine. Apart from protein synthesis, Met is the major donor of the methyl group to affect DNA and protein methylation in cells including creatine production (Wu, 2013).

High dietary arginine has been recently demonstrated to improve chicken gut health (Bao, 2019) and creatine concentration in chicken breast meat (Chamruspollert et al, 2002) but possible depressed chicken performance might be due to increased dietary Met requirement (Chamruspollert et al., 2002).

Homocysteine is a key substrates in three additional essential reactions: (1) the recycling of intracellular folic acids;(2) the catabolism of choline and betaine; and (3) the transsulfuration pathways to produce cysteine (Cys) (Finkelstein, 1998).Consequently, the minimal daily requirement for Met varies as a function of the availability of cysteine, choline or betaine, Vitamin B12 and folic acid but cannot be replaced by choline or betaine in producing immune responses.

Because a portion of dietary Met is normally converted to Cys, it suggests that dietary Cys can spare, reduce, or replace a portion of the requirement for Met by as much as 50%-80% in birds (Shoveller et al., 2005). However, The Met portion used for Cys biosynthesis is only 81% on a dietary concentration basis, indicating the magnitude of response to Met supplementation when Cys is also deficient is less than that when Met is singly deficient (Baker, 2009).

Cys is the precursor of glutathione (GSH) and hydrogen sulfide (H₂S) (a signalling molecule) in animal cells, positively correlated with glutathione concentrations in the liver, spleen and muscle, playing an important role in regulating cellular signalling pathways in response to immunological challenges (Li et al., 2007). Cys preferably participates in the synthesis of keratin in feathers comparing to nutrient deposition in the breast muscle (Bonato, 2011). Glutathione is essential for normal intestinal function and the deficiency of glutathione will increase the susceptibility to carcinogenesis, oxidative injury.

It is noteworthy that taurine is an end product of TSAA with various physiological roles including conjugation with bile acids, stabilization of the cellular plasma membrane and a major antioxidant to regulate the cellular redox state (Hagiware et al., 2014). However, in some circumstances, taurine cannot be sufficiently synthesized in the liver although plasma Met and Cys concentrations are high. Recently it was found that supplementation of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) may improve taurine biosynthesis in the liver. Thus, the higher dietary BCAA levels may help TSAA to fully play their functional roles.

Commercially available L-Met is produced by bacteria fermentation and can be directly used to synthesize protein, provide methyl group or degrade through pathways to produce Cys. For DL-Met, it contains 50% D-Met and 50% LMet. In the chicken body, its D-Met is oxidatively deaminated to the α-keto analogue of L-Met, 2-keto-4 methylthio butanoic acid (KMB) by D-amino acid oxidase. It is assumed to be 100% efficacy, but it has been traditionally accepted that DL-Met is 95% efficacy relative to L_met due to equal dietary contributions of the D-and L-isomers (Baker, 2006).

Then KMB is converted to L-Met by transaminase (Brachet and Puigserver, 1992). For DL-HMTBA, it contains 50% L-HMTBA and 50% D-HMTBA. Its D-HMTBA is oxidized to KMB by L-2-hydroxy acid oxidase and D-HMTBA is dehydronised to KMB by D-2-hydroxy acid dehydrogenase. Then KMB is converted to L-Met by transaminase (Dibner and Knight, 1984). The key enzyme, D-amino acid oxidase exists only in the liver or the kidney and D-Met is not utilized directly by the cells of the gastrointestinal tract (Shen et al., 2015).

Relative Bioavailability Values of Met From Different Sources.

The evaluation of relative bioavailability values (RBV) of Met sources in broiler chickens has remained controversy for more than 50 years differences in experimental designs, methionine requirements, supplemental methionine levels, dietary factors such as dietary lysine, arginine, cysteine and branched chain amino acids concentrations, dietary energy levels, response criteria, the age of broiler chickens and statistical models. Based on a dose-response trial, the slope-ratio and non-linear multiple regression models have been widely used in those RBV evaluation studies (Little et al., 1997).

For three sources of Met, in the slope-ratio multiple regression model, the following multilinear regression was applied:

Y = a + (b1X1 + b2X2 + b3X3)

In which y = growth performance ( body weight gain and FCR, a = intercept (growth performance achieved with the negative control), b1 =the slope of DL-Met line, b2 =the slope of L-Met line and b3 =the slope of liquid HMTBA line, X1 = intake of supplemental DL-Met (g/day/bird), X2 = intake of supplemental L-Met (g/day/bird) and X3 = intake of supplemental liquid HMTBA (g/day/bird). RBV of L-Met and liquid HMTBA to DL-Met were given by the ratio of slope coefficients, b2 : b1 and b3 : b1 , respectively.

For three sources of Met, in the non-linear multiple regression model with common plateau, the following non-linear regression was applied:

Y = a + b (1 ̶ e(c1X1 + c2X2 + c3X3))

In which y = growth performance ( body weight gain and FCR), a = intercept (growth performance achieved with the negative control), a + b = asymtote, c1 =the steepness coefficient for DL-Met , c2 =the steepness coefficient for L-Met and c3 =the steepness coeficient of liquid MHA line, X1 = intake of supplemental DL-Met (g/day/bird), X2 = intake of supplemental L-Met (g/day/bird) and X3 = intake of supplemental liquid HMTBA (g/day/bird). RBV of L-Met and liquid HMTBA to DL-Met were given by the ratio of steepness coefficients, c2 : c1 and c3 : c1 , respectively.

Based on the slope-ratio analysis, in broiler chickens (21 to 42 d ) exposed heat stress, the RBV of liquid HMTBA ranged from 67% (FCR) to 83% (weight gain) relative to DL-Met (Rostagno and Barbosa, 1995). Following the non-linear regression model, Lemme et al., (2002) reported 72% weight gain and 51% FCR (1 to 42 days) of liquid DL-HMTBA RBV compared to DL-Met.

However, based on predominantly not accessible or published data in non-peer-reviewed journals, Vázquez-Añón et al., (2006) argued that DL-Met and DL-HMTBA did not fit the same dose response profile, concluding that at lower or deficient dietary TSAA levels, DL-HMTBIA responses were lower than those of DL-Met, whereas at the commercial or above requiremental levels, DL-HMTBA outperformed those for DL-Met.

In these studies, the highest supplemental level of Met was 0.4%. On the basis of 1.13% and 1.02% digestible lysine in the starter (d1-d10) and grower (d 11-d 28) periods, respectively, an experiment was conducted to consist of a basal diet without Met addition, and 4 increasing Met doses for DL-HMBTA and DLMet resulting in TSAA/Lysine ratios from 0.62 to 0.73 in the starter phase and 0.59 to 0.82 in the grower phase. For the starter period, growth performance were not improved from 0.66 to 0.73 TSAA/Lysine ratio. For the grower period, performance parameters responded quadratically to either DL-Met or DL-HMTBA supplementation, showing better efficacy for HMTBA than DL-Met at higher TSAA levels (Agostini et al., 2016).

In this study, although separate plateau models were used as suggested by Kratzer and Little (2006), Hoehler (2006) insisted that it was correct to use either slope-ratio (linear response) or nonlinear models with common plateau depending on the data structure of the respective dose-response trial.

Based on a control diet containing digestible TSAA 0.56%, adding 0.095%, 0.190% and 0.285% of either L-Met or DL-Met resulted in TSAA/Lysine ratios from 0.44 to 0.67 (Shen et al., 2015). In this study, experimental data (1 to 21 d) were analysed by the slope-ratio multiple regression model. The RBV of L-Met ranged from 138% (weight gain) to 141% (FCR) relative to DL-Met. Surprisingly, adding 0.190% L-Met to the control diet (TSAA/Lysine ratio is 0.59) had reached the growth plateau and it was much lower than 0.78 suggested by Dozier and Mercier (2013). In this control diet, digestible Threonine/Lysine ,Isoleucine/Lysine and digestible Valine/Lysine is 0.63, 0.63 and 0.71, respectively. They were also much lower than Ross nutrient recommendation. Considering that maximal chicken body weight gain at 21 days of age was only 762 grams , other dietary factors might limit Met supplementation responses.

In a 37 days broiler chicken trial, on the basis of control diets containing digestible TSAA 0.54%, 0.52% and 0.50% in starter, grower and finisher periods, respectively, adding 0.05%, 0.10%, 0.15% and 0.20% of either L-Met or DL-Met resulted in TSAA/Lysine ratios from 0.44 to 0.61in starter period, 0.50 to 0.69 in grower period and 0.51 to 0.71 in finisher period, respectively (Esteve-Garcia and Khan, 2018). In this study, when experimental data in 37 days were analyzed by non-linear models with common plateau, the RBV of L-Met ranged from 112% (weight gain) to 130% (FCR) relative to DL-Met.

Interestingly, for broiler chickens fed purified diets, L-Met was more efficiently utilized than DL-Met and DL-Met in turn was superior to equimolar amounts of DL-HMTBA. However, in semi-purified diets continuing high proportion of natural L-Met provided by soy bean meal, this trend lost sensitivity (Smith, 1965). It is noticed that in this semi-purified, soybean meal provided 75% of dietary total methionine concentration, leaving a very small proportion of the methionine requirements to be provided by supplemental methionine sources.

Therefore, the higher dietary supplemental methionine levels or the control diet containing much lower natural L-Methionine are crucial for methionine RBV evaluation. Recently a dose-response trial was conducted in an Australian University to compare RBV of L-Met and DL-HMTBA relative to DL-Met. On the basis of the control diet containing 0.637% digestible TSAA, adding equimolar 0.138%, 0.276% and 0.414% either DL-Met, L-Met or DL-HMTBA led to digestible TSAA/Lysine ratio from 0.50 to 0.80.

Surprisingly, even adding equimolar 0.414% either DL-Met or DL-HMTBA did not reached the response plateaus. However, for L-Met, when TSAA:Lys ratio equalled to 74.9% and 74.2%, the optimal body weight gain and FCR were reached, respectively, confirming that L-Met has the highest bioavailability. It is noticed that in this trial, the highest supplemental Methionine concentration achieved 56% of the dietary total methionine requirement, resulting in the highest ileal digestibility of Met and other amino acids (Figure 1), indicating that supplementation of l-Methionine significantly reduced N excretion.

It is noteworthy that TSAA: Lys ratio of 74 to 75 is the current practice in broiler chicken production. The fact that supplementation of either DL-Met or DL-MHA did not reach the body weight gain response plateau, strongly suggests in practice, L-Met supplementation may at least improve FCR by two points.

DL-met and Amino acids

Figure 1. The apparent ileal digestibility coefficients in response to diets supplemented with equimolar 0.414% Met from different sources.


Study compiled by Dr Yumin Bao, Redox Animal Nutritionist.

For comprehensive animal nutrition, it is well known that the use of in-feed antibiotics has until now, been the main strategy for controlling Clostridium perfringens- associated necrotic enteritis in poultry production. Recently, due to the fear of development of antibiotic resistant microbes, there is a strong trend to totally ban the inclusion of non-therapeutic antibiotics in poultry and swine feed.

Although various alternatives to antibiotics including probiotics, organic acids, enzymes, yeast peptide, prebiotics, essential oils and vaccination have been developed, no single satisfactory non-antibiotics measure against C. perfringens has been identified.  

Probiotics have been defined as the live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affect the host animal by improving its intestinal balance and overall animal nutrition.

Farm chicken in a barn, eating from an automatic feeder.

Farm chickens eating from an automatic feeder.

Probiotics where originally derived from lactic acid bacteria (LAB) fermented dairy products and the faecal microbiome. Traditionally probiotics was thought to produce short chain fatty acids, optimise IgA production, modulate homeostatic bile acids production, and increase the integrity of intestinal epithelial layers.

In recent years, new technology and new fermentation method have been developed to select more specific super bacteriostatic strain for the new generation of probiotics (Clostide).

In the Figure 1, it is clearly shown that the antibacterial ability of Bacillus Licheniformis HJ135 developed by Vega group is 20 times than that of normal stain.

test outcomes

Figure 1. The bigger of diameter of bacteriostatic circle is better for antibacterial ability

Animal nutrition in other animals

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In today’s Animal Nutrition Insights, Redox’s Animal Nutritionist Dr Yumin Bao shares information on Yeast Peptides and how their inclusion in animal feed can improve several conditions that often affect animal health.

Yeast peptide is a naturally occurring molecule with 19 unique amino acids, long lasso structure antimicrobial peptide from the bacteria Citrobacter braakii.

Usually, this peptide has been referred to as the host defence peptide to directly kill bacteria, yeasts, fungi and virus. Because this peptide exhibits a net positive charge and a high ratio of hydrophobic amino acids, it can selectively bind to negatively charged bacterial membranes and is able to cross the membrane to inhibit RNA synthesis, resulting in lysis of the targeted pathogens such as E.coli and Semolina.

RNA inhibitors

Therefore, different from antibiotics, it is difficult for pathogens to develop the resistance to this peptide since it would require drastic changes in the composition of membranes in targeted bacteria.

It has been demonstrated that the addition of this yeast peptide can improve several conditions in the below animals:

Weaning piglets with an average body weight at 7.98 kg for 28 days –

Laying hens –

In broiler chickens, compared with the antibiotic treatment, the combination of this yeast peptide and the acidifier significantly reduced the mortality rate and improved body weight gain by 8.4%. As well in ruminants such as lambs, this yeast peptide has the significant effect on the prevention of urethral calculus.

In a field trial study conducted in China, the incidence rate of urethral calculus in three farms were 5.56%, 4.55% and 1.45%, respectively, one week after using the yeast peptide, the incidence of urinary stone dropped to zero due probably to the fact that the yeast peptide reduces pathogens infections.

Want to know more? Contact one of our industry specialists and ask them today.


Butyric acid is an important short chain fatty acid that has antimicrobial activity and is now being widely used as feed additives to control pathogens.

Butyric acid is produced within the animal intestinal lumen by bacterial fermentation of undigested dietary carbohydrates and endogenous proteins. 90% of this butyric acid is metabolized by cecal epithelial cells or colonocytes to provide multiple beneficial effects on gut health.

However, free butyric acid has an offensive odour and is difficulty to handle in practice. In addition, free butyric acids has been shown to be largely absorbed in the upper gastro-intestinal tract, resulting in the majority not reaching the large intestine, where butyric acid would exert its major function.

Therefore, commercial sodium salt butyrate has been developed to ease the handling and prevent the release of butyric acid in the upper gastro-intestinal tract.

The first line of defence in the gut

But tributyrin consists of butyric acid and mono-butyrin and in the upper gastro-intestinal tract, tributyrin is hydrolzed into butyric acid and α-mono-butyrin but in the hindgut, the major molecule will be α-monobutyrin which provides more energy, to boost muscle growth and to promote capillary development for better nutrients transportation.

There are a number of disorders associated with the gut health of chickens including:

The addition of tributyrin has been widely used to combat gut disorders, and ultimately enhance chicken gut health.

In layer chicken hens, it is able to improve calcium absorption in particular in older laying hens and improve eggshell quality.

In piglets the weaning transition is a critical period due to severe stress resulting from shifting from liquid to solid feed, changing in environment, and mixing with new pen mates.

In a recent piglet trial we conducted in Rivalea, it is clearly shown that adding 2.5 kg Tributyrin /MT post weaning diets for 35 days improved body weight gain by 5% and feed conversion ratio by 3 points.

Application rates

Tributyrin can also be used in milk as a replacer for whole milk and partially negates the negative effect that milk replacers have on rumen development.

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