Ileal amino acid digestibility assay for the growing meat chicken - Comparison of ileal and excreta amino acid digestibility in the chicken

I. T. Kadim*, P. J. Moughan, V. Ravindran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


1. The apparent and true amino acid digestibilities in sorghum, wheat, soyabean meal, meat-and-bone meal, fish meal and blood meal for growing meat chickens were determined using an assay based on the collection of digesta from the terminal ileum and comparison was made with digestibility values determined using an excreta-based assay. 2. Five-week-old meat chickens were given maize-soyabean meal basal diet or mixtures of the basal diet and test diets containing the 6 ingredients as the sole source of dietary protein (50:50 on weight basis). Apparent amino acid digestibility values of assay diets at ileal and excreta levels were calculated using chromic oxide as the indigestible marker. True digestibility values were calculated using endogenous outputs determined by feeding a protein-free diet. Amino acid digestibilities of the ingredients were calculated by difference. 3. The site of measurement had no influence on endogenous amino acid output, the exceptions being aspartic acid and glutamic acid. The output of these two amino acids was higher in the excreta. 4. Significant differences were found between ileal and excreta-based digestibility of certain amino acids in some ingredients, with excreta values being usually higher than the ileal values, indicating a net catabolism of amino acids in the large intestine. The degree of net amino acid disappearance was found to be variable among amino acids and ingredients. In general, threonine had the lowest digestibility at the ileal level and, compared with other amino acids, the highest degredation during passage through the hindgut. 5. The results showed that digestibility determination based on excreta collection will overestimate the uptake for some amino acids in some feeds. The degree of overestimation was often considerable, ranging from 8.9% (apparent digestibility of threonine in soyabean meal) to 56% (apparent digestibility of aspartic acid in wheat). It is concluded that digestibility values measured at the terminal ileum provide a more reliable measure of amino acid availability than those measured in the excreta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-597
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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