Isoleucine requirements of the chicken: The effect of excess leucine and valine on the response to isoleucine

D. Burnham, R. M. Gous, G. C. Emmans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


Three experiments were designed to determine the response of broiler chickens to dietary isoleucine, and to quantify the antagonistic effects of excess leucine and valine on this response. 2. A dilution technique was used tomeasure the responses in growth rate and food intake to a range of diets differing in their isoleucine concentrations. A summit diet was formulated to contain isoleucine at 1.14 times the requirement and with leucine (1.76 times the requirement) and valine (1.87 times the requirement) at the minimum possible concentrations, given the ingredients available. A dilution mixture, devoid of protein, was formulated to correspond in all respects, other than in amino acid content, to the summit diet. These two basal diets were blended in different proportions to give a range ofdiets of decreasing isoleucine and protein content. 3. In experiment 1 the response was measured to isoleucine with leucine and valine remaining in the same proportion to isoleucine throughout the range of diets fed. In experiments 2 and 3, however, L-leucine and L-valine were added to the diets either singly or in combination to give 6 isoleucine con entrations and 3 ratios of each of leucine and valine to isoleucine. 4. Weight gain decreased as the isoleucine content of the diet was reduced, whereas food intake of broilers fed on the marginally deficient diets increased to a maximum and then decreased. FCE decreased curvilinearly as the isoleucine concentration in the food decreased, reflecting a concomitant change in the fat content of the broilers.5. It is possible that the amount of dietary isoleucine assumed to be available to the broilers in these experiments was overestimated by hydrolysing the food samples for 72 h, and the doubt thus created makes an estimate of the efficiency of retention of isoleucine suspect. 6. Excess valine had no effect on the response to isoleucine, whereas an increase in the leucine to isoleucine ratio depressed food intake 71 72 D. BURNHAM ET AL. and hence weight gain, but only at the lowest concentrations of isoleucine.7. If the food content of isoleucine is sufficient to meet the requirements of the broiler, relatively large excesses of leucine, of valine, or of both will not depress growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Mar 1992


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