Biochemical and physiological bases for utilization of dietary amino acids by young Pigs. Academic Article uri icon


  • Protein is quantitatively the most expensive nutrient in swine diets. Hence it is imperative to understand the physiological roles played by amino acids in growth, development, lactation, reproduction, and health of pigs to improve their protein nutrition and reduce the costs of pork production. Due to incomplete knowledge of amino acid biochemistry and nutrition, it was traditionally assumed that neonatal, post-weaning, growing-finishing, and gestating pigs could synthesize sufficient amounts of all "nutritionally nonessential amino acids" (NEAA) to support maximum production performance. Therefore, over the past 50years, much emphasis has been placed on dietary requirements of nutritionally essential amino acids as building blocks for tissue proteins. However, a large body of literature shows that NEAA, particularly glutamine, glutamate, arginine and proline regulate physiological functions via cell signaling pathways, such as mammalian target of rapamycin, AMP-activated protein kinase, extracellular signal-related kinase, Jun kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and NEAA-derived gaseous molecules (e.g., nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide). Available evidence shows that under current feeding programs, only 70% and 55% of dietary amino acids are deposited as tissue proteins in 14-day-old sow-reared piglets and in 30-day-old pigs weaned at 21days of age, respectively. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the roles and dietary requirements of NEAA in swine nutrition. This review highlights the basic biochemistry and physiology of absorption and utilization of amino acids in young pigs to enhance the efficacy of utilization of dietary protein and to minimize excretion of nitrogenous wastes from the body.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci Biotechnol

author list (cited authors)

  • Rezaei, R., Wang, W., Wu, Z., Dai, Z., Wang, J., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 97

complete list of authors

  • Rezaei, Reza||Wang, Weiwei||Wu, Zhenlong||Dai, Zhaolai||Wang, Junjun||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • February 2013