University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Amino acid, poultry


Information regarding the impact of sulfur amino acids (SAA) on hepatic homocysteine (Hcy) flux through the various metabolic pathways competing for Hcy in young broilers is lacking. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the impact of varying levels of dietary methionine (Met), choline, and betaine on hepatic Hcy flux in young broiler chickens. A standard starter basal diet was fed to chicks until 8 d of age; 12 experimental diets were given from 8-22 d. The experimental basal diet contained deficient levels of Met and cysteine (Cys); supplemental Met (0, 0.08, 0.16, and 0.24%) was added to the basal diet in combination with isomethyl levels of choline (0 or 0.25%) or betaine (0 or 0.28%). The 12 dietary treatments were replicated with three pens containing five chicks each (15 birds per treatment). Weight gain and feed efficiency increased (P < 0.05) with Met addition and were maximized with the addition of 0.16% digestible Met. No significant interactions (P > 0.05) with choline or betaine addition were noted for weight gain, feed intake, or feed efficiency, but numerical improvements for these variables were observed with the addition of choline and betaine to the Met-deficient basal diet. Analysis of liver tissue indicated that folate-dependent remethylation of Hcy predominated over betaine-dependent remethylation. Further, folate-dependent remethylation of Hcy appeared to be impacted by dietary choline and betaine levels, whereas betaine-dependent remethylation appeared to be more impacted by dietary SAA levels.