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L-carnitine and its functional effects in poultry nutrition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 June 2011

Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science, Ankara University, Diskapi, Ankara, 06110-Turkey
Physiologist, (formerly University of Zimbabwe), 22 Kimble Grove, Pype Hayes, Birmingham B24 0RW, UK
Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science, Ankara University, Diskapi, Ankara, 06110-Turkey
Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science, Ankara University, Diskapi, Ankara, 06110-Turkey
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L-carnitine has indispensable functions in intermediary metabolism and is received by endogenous synthesis and from exogenous sources. It plays an obligate role in fatty acid metabolism by directing fatty acids into the mitochondrial oxidative pathway through the action of specialised acyltransferases. In poultry production, L-carnitine has a multi functional purpose, which includes: growth promotion, strengthening the immune system, antioxidant effects and improving semen quality. The concentration of L-carnitine in animals varies widely across species, tissue type, and nutritional status of the animal. It has been suggested that the L-carnitine requirement may be increased under certain circumstances such as via higher performance, various stress conditions and where the diet is deficient in animal protein sources. The review of L-carnitine functions uniquely includes the main aspects of this consequential feed supplementary inclusion in poultry nutrition.

Review Article
Copyright © World's Poultry Science Association 2011

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