Dietary nitrogen utilisation and prediction of amino acid requirements in equids Academic Article uri icon


  • The equine population represents an important sector of animal agriculture and, thus, contributes to environmental contamination. The horse industry lags behind other livestock industries in developing prediction models to estimate N and amino acid (AA) requirements aimed at precision feeding and management to optimise animal health and performance while mitigating nutrient excretion. Effective predictions of N utilisation and excretion are based on knowledge of ingredient protein quality and the determinants of N and AA requirements. Protein quality is evaluated on the basis of N and AA digestibility and AA composition. Amino acid composition of grains, pulses and oil seeds is extensive, but there is large deficit on that of forages. Several studies have reported on pre- and post-caecal N digestibility in horses, demonstrating that a large proportion of N from forages is metabolised post-caecally. Few have reported on AA digestibility. It is proposed that whole-tract (i.e. faecal) N and AA digestibility be used in evaluating feed-ingredient protein quality in equids to begin designing predictive models of N and AA requirements. Nitrogen gain and AA composition in deposited tissues and their corresponding efficiency of utilisation are the key determinants for a prediction model. We estimated that N utilisation for maintenance is 0.74. Maintenance requirements for N and AA were derived from faecal N and AA losses in horses and expressed as a function of dry-matter intake and from integument losses in swine. Relative to our factorial model, the NRC (2007) requirement for lysine and N is overestimated when based on a segmented curve and a breakpoint. When based on N equilibrium, lysine NRC (2007) requirement estimate agrees with our factorial model estimate, while N requirement is underestimated. The pool of AA profile used to express requirements of other essential AA has a large impact on requirement, as shown, in particular, for threonine. Threonine requirement based on faecal endogenous AA profile is higher than is lysine requirement for maintenance and lactation.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Trottier, N. L., & Tedeschi, L. O.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Trottier, Nathalie L||Tedeschi, Luis O

publication date

  • January 2019