Invited review: Amino acid bioavailability and digestibility in pig feed ingredients: Terminology and application

H. H. Stein, B. Sève, M. F. Fuller, P. J. Moughan, C. F.M. De Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this review, the terminology that is used to describe the bioavailability and ileal digestibility of AA in pig feed ingredients is defined. Aspects of the methodology to establish bioavailability and ileal digestibility values also are discussed, and recommendations about the use of these values are provided. Two main factors can contribute to differences between bioavailability and ileal digestibility of AA. First, some AA, such as Lys, may be absorbed in chemical complexes that preclude their use for metabolism. Second, fermentation in the upper gut may result in a net loss or gain of AA to the animal. In addition, dietary effects on the efficiency of using bioavailable AA intake for tissue growth or milk production should be considered and may be attributed to endogenous AA losses in the hindgut and the metabolic costs associated with endogenous gut protein synthesis and losses. Ileal digestibility values may be expressed as apparent ileal digestibility (AID), standardized ileal digestibility (SID), or true ileal digestibility (TID). These terms are used to specify how ileal endogenous AA losses are reflected in digestibility values. Ileal endogenous AA losses may be separated into basal losses, which are not influenced by feed ingredient composition, and specific losses, which are induced by feed ingredient characteristics such as levels and types of fiber and antinutritional factors. Values for AID are established when total ileal outflow of AA (i.e., the sum of endogenous losses and nondigested dietary AA) is related to dietary AA intake. A concern with the use of AID values is that these are not additive in mixtures of feed ingredients. This concern may be overcome by correcting AID values for defined basal endogenous losses of AA, which yields SID values. Furthermore, if the AID values are corrected for basal and specific endogenous losses, then values for TID are calculated. However, reliable procedures to routinely measure specific endogenous losses are not yet available. It is recommended that basal ileal endogenous losses of AA should be measured in digestibility experiments using a defined protein-free diet and that these losses are reported with observed AID and SID values. It is suggested that SID values should be used for feed formulation, at least until more information on TID values becomes available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Amino acid
  • Apparent digestibility
  • Endogenous loss
  • Pig
  • Standardized digestibility
  • True digestibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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