New concepts and objectives for protein-amino acid nutrition in rabbits: a review.

 R. Carabaño, M.J. Villamide, J. García, N. Nicodemus, A. Llorente, S. Chamorro, D. Menoyo, P. García Rebollar, A.I. García Ruiz, J.C. De Blas


In the European context, the new legislation to avoid mineral contamination and the ban on antibiotics as growth promoters has led to the definition of new objectives in respect of nitrogen supply. The present study summarizes the state of nitrogen nutrition in rabbits and reviews the role of protein and amino acids in rabbit health and the new nitrogen value of protein sources based on true ileal digestibility (TID) for future recommendations. The main sources of nitrogen for microbial growth are ammonia, urea and protein (endogenous and dietary). The surplus of nitrogen flow to the caecum increases mortality rates during fattening by favouring the growth of potential pathogenic bacteria. Accordingly, feeding strategies to reduce ileal nitrogen flow have been reviewed. A large reduction of dietary protein level might have negative consequences on growth performances and mortality. In order to formulate balanced low protein diets, data on ileal and faecal amino acid digestibility of 14 raw materials is summarized. The use of this different unit for amino acid digestibility is also discussed.


amino acids; ileal digestibility; microbial growth; intestinal health; nutrition; rabbits

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