Amino acids for ideal protein diets in livestock farming

The game-changing ideal protein concept uses precise amino acid calculations and meets the needs of animal nutrition with cost-effective feed additives.

The ideal protein concept is one of the most important advances in animal nutrition. It is based on the fact that animals need a balanced or ideal pattern of amino acids to maximize growth performance and nitrogen retention. All absorbed amino acids in excess compared to the first limiting amino acid are catabolized, increasing nitrogen excretion. The concept takes lysine, which is almost exclusively utilized for body protein accretion, as a starting point. The amount of lysine required, adjusted to the genetic potential of different animals and production conditions, is used as a reference to define the need for other essential amino acids. This ideal ratio is the key to calculating the right amount of amino acids and reducing crude protein. The result: optimized growth performance and maximized nitrogen utilization.

Amino acids vs. crude protein

Crude protein is among the most costly components of livestock feed. Recent price developments have further underscored the fact that formulating diets to meet amino acid recommendations using high levels of intact protein sources is simply inefficient. In addition to high costs, the disadvantages include metabolic stress placed on animals
catabolizing and excreting excessive amino acids.

Drawing on scientific findings and decades of hands-on experience, Evonik has established amino acid recommendations for different types of livestock. The resulting reduction in crude protein requirements and targeted use of amino acids – the ideal protein concept – maximize growth performance and profitability, while lowering environmental impact.


Animal nutritionists have long known that animals do not need crude protein itself, but rather the essential amino acids it contains. Yet high-protein diets were the only way to provide safety margins, ensuring that more than enough of the required amino acids are contained. Today, precise amino acid calculations make it possible to reduce safety margins and fine-tune feed composition. This approach, the ideal protein concept, saves money, boosts animal health and cuts down nitrogen emissions.

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