7 commentsupdate:Sep 26, 2012


Ioannis Mavromichalis
I have just completed a study on betaine for one of my customers. It appears, betaine has strong potential as an additive in poultry and we shall be seeing more of it in the near future! Nevertheless, the available literature on betaine is rather confusing (isn't it the case for all additives?)


There are positive studies, and there are not so positive studies; not to mention no-effect studies. Of course, the theory behind it is brilliant. Betaine is a natural methyl donor and a’ strong osmoprotector. It can spare part of methionine and choline (other methyl donors) and help animals cope with water-related stress conditions (dehydration, diarrhea, etc). It can also be a lipotropic agent, causing reduction of backfat to otherwise fatty animals (such as castrates), and it can improve growth performance, and notably feed efficiency.

Right. All of these have been observed, but not consistently. So, I believe there are two major questions we need to address regarding practical use of betaine in poultry dies:

1. How much of the methionine and choline can we replace with betaine? Or rather, how much do you dare (!) replace?

2. What are the conditions under which we can expect betaine to improve animal performance (including growth, feed efficiency, and carcass traits)?

I would be glad to read your comments and experiences!


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    tarusenga Munyanyi

    while its potential additive in poultry we need to consider its availability and cost as well as quality and quantity for its inclusion in the poultry feed. Its future use can only influenced by none availability of the existiting additives being used today but i don't see it being used for massive production of poultry feeds

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    Mohammad Shaheen Shah

    Betaine can not be used as nutritional feed additive and it will not be wise to replace methionine by betaine. Betaine act as anti-stress feed additive.

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    Alberto Torres

    Betaine has been around, commercially, for about ten years now. There will be little use for it as a partial substitue for methionine. Other uses will be limited because it is expensive and inconsistent in providing tangible benefits but it may have more opportunities in more specific areas such as the formulation of products for particular circumstances such as hydration aids for chicks under long transportation journeys as well as reception strategies at farm level.

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    Victor D. Naranjo

    It is an interesting question with controversial results in the literature. Personally, I am not convinced that betaine may spare DL-Methionine as an essential AA. Thus, I do not agree that betaine is an effective replacer of DLM in broiler diets. However, more consistent results have been shown on the osmolyte role of betaine and that improvements may be obtained when supplemented in diets fed to broilers under heat/disease stress conditions.

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    Ilker HOSGOR

    I had my phd thesis on betaine, broiler carcass traits. I can say that the meat and breast yield increase is quite fine, per kg feed, and the profitability is gained. Before the study my examination and findings were mostly heavier birds than they looked alike. Experienced growers were mistaken about the live weight, as observed before and weighed after they were heavier. I would preferably add extra for the meat yield, as the skeleton developed it can hold more meat.

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  • George Stephenson

    Dear Mr. Victor D Naranjo,

    FYI, Betaine (Natural or synthetic) is not about to replace DLM or other sources of methionine in the diet. Apart from its basic function as an osmolyte, It can be used to reduce the methionine level in the feed with respect the dosage of betaine per MT and the cysteine level in the diet based on the complexity of the raw material usage in feed formulation. Several studies shows that the betaine can be used to reduce Methionine addition in broiler diet.


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