by Roger Gilbert, Publisher, Milling and Grain reporting from IPPE 2019


Methionine is considered an essential amino acid. It is not naturally synthesised by livestock and therefore must be provided in the diet. Chemically synthesised sources of methionine are just one way to add this important amino acid to livestock diets; poultry diets in particular.

As a major limiting amino acid in poultryand ruminant diets, methionine has been the subject of much debate and product comparison for almost three decades. That debate was in evidence again at this year's IPPE convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) is heavily but not exclusively focused on poultry production and its related sectors, including feed, and therefore is an ideal venue for ingredient companies to share their product developments with feed customers.

While Milling and Grain is not the typical publication for scientific comparison and differentiating between the various forms of methionine in the market, we did take the opportunity to talk to a global leader in the production of methionine solutions, Novus International, Inc.

'There is a lot of misinformation about the different methionine products available in the market –not all areequal,' says Mr Alfred Zimmerman, the Senior Business Director for Methionine at USA-based Novus.

Globally the demand for methionine has been growing between five-to-six percent per year and production is now currently standing at approximately one million tonnes, he told us. This growth is expected to remain the same over the next three to five years.

While there are a handful of companies producing methionine products, they aren't all producing the same kind. The offerings essentially come down to DL-methionine and HMTBa.

And it seems that the market is experiencing a continuing switch to the liquid, HMTBa, which is what Novusproduces (ALIMET® feed supplement), statingit brings benefits to the feed manufacturer in operational terms as well as for the animal itself.

'The underlying message for the producer is that there are 'hidden benefits' for poultry due to the chemistry involved inHMTBa,' says Mr Zimmerman.

WithHMTBa, there are two key aspects to be aware of, he says.

'Poultry require a continuoussource of methionine,as it is the first limiting amino acid. If a diet is inadequate in any essential amino acid, protein synthesis cannot proceed beyond the rate at which that amino acid is available.

'In blood plasma results we see that levels increase more rapidly with DL-methionine (DLM) as compared to HMTBa.The rapid increase in these blood plasma levels will slow feed intake and in turn slow growth. Whereas with HMTBa we see a more controlled and gradual release into the blood stream allowing the animal to consume more feed for longer, which in turn promotes optimal growth,' he explains.

'Recently, the International Methionine Analog Association (IMAA) published an analysis of methionine sources.In summary, the research showed that HMTBa performs better than DLM – that is the bottom line,' he adds.

In addition to supplying methionine to the animal, HMTBa also offers an organic acid effect, helping in time of heat stress, offering optimised bird liveability and yield.

HMTBacan also be used to deliver trace minerals and conferbeneficial effects from itsnative carboxylic acid. Novus researchers have capitalised on these benefits by formulating HMTBa with trace minerals and organic acids to create a line of speciality products.

'Novus'MINTREX® trace minerals and ACTIVATE®DA nutritional feed acid, respectively, are great examples of products that provide these additional benefits,' Zimmerman says. 'Novus'knowledge and capabilities in the science of HMTBaessentiallyallows customers to 'stack benefits'on top of its intrinsic value as a highly valuable source of methionine.'

Above and beyond the benefits that producers can see in their livestock, Novus also offers support with its liquid HMTBa offering that can positively impact the bottom line. Zimmerman points to Novus' proprietary AIMS® system - an automated inventory management system for ALIMET®customers, which offers vendor-managed, simplified and automated ordering.

For example, inventories of the liquid product are maintained in a Novus database 'and should we see a change in consumption, we can respond quickly to see if there is a real increase occurring or advise the company on how to correct any overuse or other issue.'

Zimmerman says the inventory system, coupled with demonstrated benefits in animal performance is how Novus is 'stacking' the benefits of ALIMET® to help producers 'protect' performance.


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