CHINA- In research findings published in Animal Nutrition Journal, nutritionists suggest that glutamic acid (Glu) supplementation can compensate for a 2% crude protein reduction in basal diets for pigs.

In weanling pigs, a sizeable amount of undigested dietary nutrients undergoes bacterial fermentation in the large intestine following incomplete digestibility in the small intestine, reported the research paper.

Thus, the concept of reducing crude protein and the addition of amino acids (AAs) has taken root to minimize the amount of fermentable protein that enters the lower gut and the resultant enteric problems in nursery pigs.

The authors of the paper went on to note the evolution that the understanding of protein nutrition in animal feed has undergone in recent years.

They cited a study in which weaned piglets were fed a diet containing normal levels of crude protein (CP) and others were fed on a diet having reduced CP then supplemented with essential AAs to achieve similar levels as the standard CP diet.

The pigs fed a low CP diet with supplemental essential AAs had reduced protein synthesis in multiple tissues suggesting, they said, the need for the supplementation of conditionally essential AAs.

However, they noted, there is a limited number of studies available on supplementing reduced protein diets with a conditionally essential AA such as Glu in weanling pig performance.

And so, they sought to evaluate the supplementation of increasing levels of Glu into a protein reduced corn-soybean meal-based diet

The goal being to estimate the optimal lysine (Lys) to Glu ratio for weanling pig growth enhancement.

In the study they randomly allocated 180 crossbred weanling pigs with similar body weight to one of six dietary treatments during a six-week trial.

The authors saw that the effect of reduction of CP in growth performance was reversed by adding Glu in to the low CP diet.

This evidenced the supporting role Glu plays in promoting growth performance in weanling pigs.

They observed that among the different diets in the study, feeding a diet with calculated Lys-to-Glu ratio of 1:2.40 to weanling pigs would achieve similar levels of performance as that of standard diets.

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