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Heat increment as affected by protein and amino acid nutrition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2007

N.A. Musharaf*
Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA
J.D. Latshaw
Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA
Correspondence to: N.A. Musharaf, Department of Poultry Science, Faculty of Animal Production, University of Khartoum, P.O. Box 32 Khartoum North, 13314-Shambat, Sudan.
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The activity of feeding and the metabolism caused by digestion and assimilation of food increase an animal's heat production. This increased heat production has been referred to as specific dynamic effect, specific dynamic action or heat increment (HI). HI is much larger when protein is a source of energy than when carbohydrate or fat are the sources of energy. HI for protein is much greater when the animal's ambient temperature is high than when it is low. Metabolisable energy is used more efficiently, thus having less HI, for maintenance than for production. A suggested explanation is that heat resulting from digestion and assimilation of food can substitute for the heat production in fasting when food provides energy equal to, or less than, maintenance requirements. When energy intake is large enough to support production, HI from anabolic processes becomes a waste product that cannot substitute for a fasting or maintenance function. The same rationale can be applied to the observation that dietary protein has a greater HI when an animal is at high temperatures. At low temperatures protein would be used for maintenance. At high temperatures the same amount of energy from protein would be enough to support production. As a result, HI of the protein would be increased at high temperatures. The high HI of protein or amino acids when at a high level in the diet can be at least partially explained. Protein synthesis requires a large amount of energy. Some energy is required to excrete nitrogenous waste. In addition, dietary protein stimulates protein turnover. Research findings have suggested that HI should be lowered by decreasing dietary protein. For non-ruminant animals this could be accomplished by discovering the essential amino acid requirements for an ideal protein. The ideal protein should result in a minimum HI. Research to date generally fails to document improved feed efficiency as a result of feeding an ideal protein.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1999

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