Amino acid digestibility analysis of soybean meal now available to feed industry

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

© istock.com/castillodominici
© istock.com/castillodominici

Related tags: Amino acid

Developments to AusScan Online, Aunir’s web-based spectroscopy calibration tool, mean the pig feed industry can now analyze soybean meal to obtain SID (standard ileal digestible) values for all essential amino acids.

With the enhancements to AusScan’s Total and SID amino acid product, the calibrations - which are applicable to soybean meal - provide estimates on the digestibility of nine amino acids and total and reactive lysine. 

Besides total amino acid and SID, AID (apparent ileal digestibility) and TID (true ileal digestibility) values for lysine, SID values for methionine, cysteine, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and histidine are now available to users of the service. 

This breakthrough follows research by the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) in Australia and UK-based firm Aunir - a developer of NIRS (near infrared reflectance spectroscopy) technologies and applications.

“The calibrations for reactive lysine and SID amino acid levels are a world first,” ​Roger Campbell, CEO of Pork CRC, told FeedNavigator.

He said these new analysis capabilities would benefit feed manufacturers, nutritionists, integrated production companies, producers and potentially soybean crushers.

“Having SID levels for all essential amino acids enables nutritionists to more accurately formulate diets and maximize performance and the cost effectiveness of diets. The latest calibrations give us information on the digestible levels of all essential amino acids in soy bean meal - globally the most widely used protein supplement in animal agriculture.”

It’s wise to analyze lysine

Whilst eight amino acids are measured in terms of their standard ileal digestibility, for lysine, it is useful to determine both total and reactive lysine. This is because the difference between total and reactive lysine reflects the amount of heat damage to the meal during processing and the reactive level is the value required for diet formulation. 

“We know from the research underlying the calibrations that the reactive lysine: total lysine ratio can range from 0.8 to 1.0 so knowing this markedly affects the accuracy of diet formulation and the level of animal performance supported,”​ explained Campbell. 

He added that for canola meal, which can be analyzed for total amino acids and total and reactive lysine - heat damage can be even greater, and therefore, knowing the reactive lysine content is “essential to making purchasing and formulation decisions."​ 

Other amino acids are damaged by processing and heat treatment too - Campbell said that for soybean meal and canola meal the two other amino acids that are particularly susceptible to damage by processing are cysteine and arginine. 

Remote NIRS analysis explained

Data - in the form of ‘spectra’ graphs - generated from NIRS machines located in feed mills anywhere in the world, is uploaded onto the AusScan Online website.

Users of the ‘pay as you go’ service choose what calibrations they want to run; whether, for example they want to find out non-starch polysaccharide, amino acid or productive energy values for their grain or protein meal. The spectra are analyzed remotely by Aunir’s master system in the UK and the results are available within minutes. Individual producers who don’t have NIRS machines on site can send samples directly or via their nutritionist to laboratories who have access to AusScan.

According to Campbell, the accuracy of the results is quite high.

“For grains, the variation around digestible energy is the same as if you measured the value in an animal study. The difference is that an animal trial takes months to get an answer,”​ he said.

Corn analysis capabilities

Asked what plans Aunir and Pork CRC had to further expand AusScan’s analysis capabilities, either in terms of the range of feedstuffs that can be analyzed or the parameters for analysis, Campbell said: “We will be looking at the possibility of developing calibrations for reactive lysine in DDGS (dried distillers grains and soluble) - a by-product of ethanol that is used globally in feed and very susceptible to heat damage. We will also be looking at generating more data on the digestible energy and apparent metabolizable energy values for corn.”

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