Dr. Guoyao Wu presents a paradigm shift in protein nutrition during Adisseo reception at ADSA Annual Meeting

A paradigm shift in protein nutrition was presented by Dr. Guoyao Wu, Distinguished Professor of Animal Nutrition, University Faculty Fellow, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow, during the Adisseo Wine and Cheese Reception at the recent annual meeting of the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA). The paradigm shift will enhance production performance and feed efficiency in all animals.  Adisseo is a world leader in nutritional solutions and additives for animal feed.


According to Dr. Wu, research demonstrates that the so-called nutritionally nonessential amino acids (NEAA) are nutritionally essential for optimal growth, development, and health of all animals.  Some of the NEAAs such as arginine, glutamate, glutamine and glycine, and essential amino acids (EAAs) such as lysine and methionine are functional amino acids.  Appropriate amounts and proportions of all functional amino acids should be considered in formulating diets for animals, including dairy cows.

Functional amino acids participate in and regulate key metabolic pathways to improve health, survival, growth, development, lactation and reproduction. A functional amino acid can be either an EAA or an NEAA.


The first two limiting amino acids in dairy nutrition are methionine and lysine. Both have direct and indirect metabolic functions.  Methionine, for example, is always the first amino acid to start a polypeptide chain, giving it an expansive role in nutrition and metabolism. It is the first amino acid in the following molecules which have the following respective roles:

  • Betaine —  Methylation of homocysteine to methionine, one-carbon unit metabolism, and precursor for glycine synthesis.
  • Creatine  —  Antioxidant; antiviral; antitumor; energy metabolism in heart, skeletal muscle and brain; neurological and muscular development, and function.
  • Cysteine — Cell metabolism, disulfide linkages, glutathione synthesis.
  • S-Adenosylmethionine – The dominant biological methyl group donor. Methylation of proteins and DNA; synthesis of creatine, epinephrine, polyamines; regulation of gene expression; and one-carbon-unit metabolism (DNA synthesis).
  • Taurine: — Antioxidant; osmoregulation; organ development; vascular, muscular, cardiac, and retinal functions;               anti-inflammation; conjugation with bile acids (lipids digestion and absorption).
  • Phospholipids — Synthesis of lecithin & phosphatidylcholine, cell signaling.
  • Homocysteine – Oxidant, inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis.
  • Carnitine — Transport of long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria for oxidation; regulation of lean tissue mass gain, intramuscular fat reduction, and carcass quality; storage of energy as acetylcarnitine; antioxidant in cells and tissues.

Dr. Wu’s research originated with glutamine and arginine. While synthesized de novo in pigs, the endogenous provision of these two amino acids proved to be insufficient for piglet growth.  Thus, Dr. Wu concludes that “animal nutritionists need to pay attention to not only the amino acids that are not synthesized de novo, but also the amino acids that can be synthesized by animal cells.”

Research also shows that nitrogen balance studies are not sensitive enough to fully evaluate the dietary requirements of NEAA. Rather, the functional needs of an NEAA by mammals must be used as a criterion to define its dietary requirement. Hence, the century-old concept of NEAA should no longer be used in nutritional sciences, according to Dr. Wu.

Adisseo is one of the world’s leading experts in feed additives. The group relies on its seven research and technology centers and its production sites based in Europe and China to design, produce, and market nutritional solutions for sustainable animal feed. With 2,100 employees, it serves more than 2,500 customers in over 100 different countries through its global distribution network. In 2017, Adisseo achieved a turnover of over 1.36 billion Euros. Adisseo is one of the main subsidiaries of China National Bluestar, a leader in the Chinese chemical industry with nearly 23,000 employees and a turnover above 58 billion RMB.