Amino Acids and Protein Quality

Animals do not have a protein requirement per se. Instead, they need a sufficient amount of each indispensable amino acid (AA) and an adequate N supply to synthesize dispensable AA. For ruminants, the dietary needs are a combination of nourishing microorganisms and supplying adequate, indispensable AA to the gut. Although protein quality can be an indication of nutritional value for nonruminant species, the value of a protein source for ruminants is more complex because of microbial fermentation. For rapidly growing ruminants and productive dairy cows, microbial proteins may not be adequate. To present additional AA to the abomasum or the small intestine, some of the protein in feed must escape microbial degradation in the rumen and be digested by the animal.

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