How safe is synthetic methionine for poultry?

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

How safe is synthetic methionine for poultry?

Once more, I have received an inquiry regarding synthetic methionine. And I mean synthetic as opposed to herbal methionine. Now, I am not exactly sure what this herbal methionine is, but I can vouch it cannot replace DL-methionine in an 1:1 basis, if only because feed-grade, synthetic methionine contains 99 percent methionine, which is hard to replicate in anything termed herbal as there is no room left for fiber — an ingredient required in anything herbal.

But, this was not the point. Today, there is a certain effort to spring up questions regarding the safety of synthetic methionine (as opposed to natural, I presume). Indeed, I have received numerous emails marketing the benefits of herbal amino acids, without any data to support such claims, but again, I digress. Recently, there is the additional question regarding the safety of synthetic amino acids. Strikingly, these marketing efforts arrive without any data to support such concerns.

As far as I am concerned, I cannot make a business decision based on folklore claims — no matter how much "voodoo" stuff I am willing to accept and pay for when it comes to my own nutrition and health. For business, I require hardwired data to convince me for anything. In fact, many additive suppliers no longer visit with me only because I am known to ask the difficult questions.

So, my point is that until I see sufficient (or any!) data to demonstrate that there is anything wrong with DL-methionine, or any other feed grade amino acid, I cannot accept there is anything wrong with them. And, to be clear, I have never worked for any amino acid manufacturer; I am just respecting my years at graduate school, and I have always backed up my advice. Thus, you will continue to see feed-grade amino acids used in my piglet feeds and all formulas I design for my customers, worldwide. That does not mean I am not open to new findings, but please: show me the data.