Interpretive Summary: Comparison of encapsulated and crystalline lysine and methionine feed supplementation in laying hens.
By: Anne Kamiya, MS
Amino acids (AA) are the necessary building blocks of proteins but also have various other physiological functions, playing critical roles in metabolism, gene expression, immunity and cell signaling. Essential AA must be obtained from the diet but the available quantity of each one varies depending the type of feed. In chickens, Methionine (Met) and lysine (Lys) are limiting AA because these AA are deficient in corn and soybean-based feed. Effective and efficient supplementation with Met and Lys is therefore necessary to maintain good health and performance in chickens.
Researchers in this recent Journal of Animal Science study evaluated how feed supplementation with encapsulated AA compared to feed supplementation with crystalline AA in laying hens. Crystalline AA are typically supplemented when Met and Lys are limiting and is absorbed rapidly. Encapsulated AA are absorbed more slowly and improves both AA delivery and absorption in other animals but is not well studied in hens. Lys and Met in the form of encapsulated L-Lys-HCl and DL-Met were evaluated against their crystalline AA forms in a series of experiments on 135 Hy-Line Brown hens. The goal was to compare how the two forms of essential AA impacted the laying performance of hens.
Encapsulated Met and Lys were more efficient sources of AA than the crystalline forms (80% encapsulated equivalent to 100% of crystalline) and had no negative effects on the laying performance of hens. The authors stated that postprandial AA balance was likely responsible for the difference. This study’s findings are very encouraging as it suggests ways to potentially improve the cost effectiveness of adding limiting AA to chicken feed. More studies on the minimum requirements of other limiting AA in encapsulated versus crystalline forms are warranted.
The original article, Use of encapsulated l-lysine-HCl and DL-methionine improves postprandial amino acid balance in laying hens, is viewable in the Journal of Animal Science.