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Protect Broiler Performance and Profits with HMTBa Methionine

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In the United States, the largest poultry-producing country globally, broiler production decisions are based on the smallest of margins, often as little as a fraction of a penny per pound. With such thin margins separating producers, bird performance is a key indicator of success. Producers can support gut health and overall profitability by supplementing broilers with a methionine source that can protect performance by improving feed conversion ratio (FCR), speed of growth, meat yield, and boosting the producer’s bottom line.

The Source Matters

Methionine is an essential amino acid, meaning chickens’ bodies (just like humans) can’t make it, so they must consume it. Methionine is also the first limiting amino acid in poultry; a chicken’s growth is limited by the amount of methionine supplemented, to a certain extent. 

There is a methionine value in several different feed ingredients broilers consume, but a typical broiler diet does not contain enough to meet their requirements for optimal growth. The most economical way to meet that requirement level is to offer it in the form of a feed supplement.

Of the available sources for methionine supplementation (DL-methionine, L-methionine, and HMTBa), HMTBa (2-hydroxy-4-(methylthio) butanoic acid) is chemically different than D- and L-methionine. HMTBa is a naturally occurring pre-cursor form of methionine that is absorbed differently within the animal’s body and uses less energy.

Protecting Performance

Data covering 8 billion broilers in the U.S. from an independent third-party industry benchmarking organization was evaluated for the difference in growth and carcass performance between birds supplemented with HMTBa and DL-methionine. The data showed roughly 75 percent of the broilers in the U.S. consume HMTBa, while only 25 percent consume DL-methionine (Figure 1).

Feed Conversion

At today's recommended levels for methionine supplementation, birds fed HMTBa more efficiently convert feed to weight gain than birds that consume DL-methionine (Figure 2). This is well established in the scientific literature, and industry data further supports this. 

Broiler diets fed today are denser than in previous years because the shift in animal genetics requires more amino acids to make more protein to grow bigger, faster. That's a fundamental industry change, and poultry diets have changed to meet the genetics of the animal.

Birds consuming DL-methionine will stop eating when the methionine levels in the blood plasma gets too high. Birds fed HMTBa have much lower levels of methionine in the blood plasma because HMTBa is converted to methionine in the tissues. This allows birds fed HMTBa to have higher feed intake at high levels of methionine supplementation.

Speed of Growth

Broilers fed HMTBa have a superior growth rate, achieving a target body weight of 6 pounds between 0.5 and 1.7 days sooner (Figure 3). At an average of 1-day sooner, with 1-day equivalent to one point of feed conversion, the economic value of choosing HMTBa over DL-methionine as the methionine source is worth approximately $10,000 USD for every 1 million birds produced.

Meat Yield

Futher analysis indicates broiler complexes meeting their methionine needs with HMTBa have an improvement in without giblet (WOG) meat yield (Figure 4). With an average increase (2005-2015) of 1.67 percentin yield, producers get more sellable meat from each chicken. The economic value of this improvement in meat yield would equal another $0.03 - $0.04 profit per broiler or $30,000 - $40,000 for every 1 million birds produced.

Value of HMTBa

In the case of broilers, there is added-value from choosing HMTBa as the methionine source. HMTBa is a chemically different and functionally better source of methionine with value beyond meeting the basic amino acid needs of the animal. Being a different chemical compound and improving energetic efficiency offer the added benefit of reducing the environmental impact of meat production.

A producer’s methionine source should generate the most economic value. Analysis of third party benchmarking of performance by methionine source shows HMTBa, in the form of ALIMET® feed supplement, provides an economic return beyond its methionine value of over $0.06 per bird. That’s an opportunity producers cannot afford to overlook.

References available upon request.

Joseph Akayi Nammonywa Joseph Akayi Nammonywa
Animal Health
August 29, 2017
Would like to know the % of Methionine in the HMTBa.
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Martin Smith Martin Smith
Animal Nutritionist
October 16, 2017
Joseph Akayi Nammonywa 65%
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August 29, 2017
This is very interesting
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star Megharaja Manangi Megharaja Manangi
Animal Nutritionist
Novus International Novus International
Missouri, United States
August 29, 2017
As mentioned in the article, HMTBa is a source of supplemental methionine. ALIMET (Novus’s liquid product) which is 88% HMTBa, and Novus’s dry product, MHA is 84% HMTBa.
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August 29, 2017

What I understand there is a Methionine satiety like Calcium in case of using DL Methionine as HMTBA is chemically different and it pH is low it gives slight acidification effect thus improving FCR.

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August 29, 2017
Interesting.
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Joseph Akayi Nammonywa Joseph Akayi Nammonywa
Animal Health
August 30, 2017
To my understanding DL and L Metionine are 99%,which to me makes them more superior.
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August 30, 2017
Yes they are and we take value of HMTBa at
88%.Issue is how it is absorbed in the body and during this process of absorption is there any
Negative effect or not.pros and cons are there
Producer of both products have their claims of superiority.It's an un ending debate.
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abdelseed abdalla ahmed abdelseed abdalla ahmed
veterinary phycian
August 30, 2017

Thanks, Mr. Meghraga for the valuable information you delivered. You mentioned that there is a methionine value in several different feed ingredients broilers consume, but a typical broiler diet does not contain enough to meet their requirements for optimal growth. The most economical way to meet that requirement level is to offer it in the form of a feed supplement. 
The directly supplemented methionine is affected by the concentration in the blood whereas the HMBTA is converted to methionine in the tissues so it seems to me that there is an unexplained relation between the directly supplemented methionine and the animal body on one hand and the HMBTA and the animal body on the other. Could you please give further explanation? Thanks a lot.

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star Megharaja Manangi Megharaja Manangi
Animal Nutritionist
Novus International Novus International
Missouri, United States
August 30, 2017

Studies have found that HMTBA and DL-Methionine are equally effective or provide equal methionine value (100%) (on equimolar basis) to birds on a comparative dose basis. For a deeper understanding, if needed, it is recommended to look through the Schothorst Feed Research Institute study outcome in 2015. Additionally, to understand the metabolism of HMTBa, it might also be worth reading the review in World Poultry Science journal (Review of the metabolism of 2-hydroxy-4- (methylthio) butanoic acid).

Our technical service team is also available to answer specific questions to your region or business. I will share the link to get in touch with them below.
http://www.novusint.com/Contact

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Dr.channegowda H K Dr.channegowda H K
Animal Nutritionist
November 6, 2017
Hi Megharaj
This is Dr Channegowda from Mysore India
I was going through your publication on HMTBa. We have been using some quantity in dairy TMR in North west of India. The performance of dairy cows fed HMTBa is very good
Thank you
My email: hkcgowda2008@gmail.com
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November 6, 2017
Dr.channegowda H K
Dear sir
How much quantity your using in dairy animals.how many grams per head per day or per ton of finish feed.what improvement you have seen in performance
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