Amino Acids

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 1159–1168 | Cite as

Composition of amino acids in feed ingredients for animal diets

  • Xilong Li
  • Reza Rezaei
  • Peng Li
  • Guoyao WuEmail author
Original Article


Dietary amino acids (AA) are crucial for animal growth, development, reproduction, lactation, and health. However, there is a scarcity of information regarding complete composition of “nutritionally nonessential AA” (NEAA; those AA which can be synthesized by animals) in diets. To provide a much-needed database, we quantified NEAA (including glutamate, glutamine, aspartate, and asparagine) in feed ingredients for comparison with “nutritionally essential AA” (EAA; those AA whose carbon skeletons cannot be formed by animals). Except for gelatin and feather meal, animal and plant ingredients contained high percentages of glutamate plus glutamine, branched-chain AA, and aspartate plus asparagine, which were 10–32, 15–25, and 8–14% of total protein, respectively. In particular, leucine and glutamine were most abundant in blood meal and casein (13% of total protein), respectively. Notably, gelatin, feather meal, fish meal, meat and bone meal, and poultry byproduct had high percentages of glycine, proline plus hydroxyproline, and arginine, which were 10–35, 9.6–35, and 7.2–7.9% of total protein, respectively. Among plant products, arginine was most abundant in peanut meal and cottonseed meal (14–16% of total protein), whereas corn and sorghum had low percentages of cysteine, lysine, methionine, and tryptophan (0.9–3% of total protein). Overall, feed ingredients of animal origin (except for gelatin) are excellent sources of NEAA and EAA for livestock, avian, and aquatic species, whereas gelatin provides highest amounts of arginine, glycine, and proline plus hydroxyproline. Because casein, corn, soybean, peanut, fish, and gelatin are consumed by children and adults, our findings also have important implications for human nutrition.


Nonessential amino acids Composition Food Animals 



Amino acids


Branched-chain amino acids


Crude protein


Cottonseed meal


Dry matter


Essential amino acids


Meat and bone meal


Nonessential amino acids


National Research Council


Poultry byproduct meal


Soybean meal



This work was supported, in part, by National Research Initiative Competitive Grants from the Animal Reproduction Program (2008-35203-19120) and Animal Growth & Nutrient Utilization Program (2008-35206-18764) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Texas AgriLife Research (H-82000). We thank all the personnel in our laboratory for their technical support, Dr. Darrell Knabe for helpful discussion, and Ms. Frances Mutscher for office support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Science, Faculty of NutritionTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.National Renderers AssociationAlexandriaUSA

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