Interorgan Metabolism, Nutritional Impacts, and Safety of Dietary L-Glutamate and L-Glutamine in Poultry

Wenliang He, Kyohei Furukawa, Masaaki Toyomizu, Tomonori Nochi, Christopher A. Bailey, Guoyao Wu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


L-glutamine (Gln) is the most abundant amino acid (AA) in the plasma and skeletal muscle of poultry, and L-glutamate (Glu) is among the most abundant AAs in the whole bodies of all avian tissues. During the first-pass through the small intestine into the portal circulation, dietary Glu is extensively oxidized to CO2, but dietary Gln undergoes limited catabolism in birds. Their extra-intestinal tissues (e.g., skeletal muscle, kidneys, and lymphoid organs) have a high capacity to degrade Gln. To maintain Glu and Gln homeostasis in the body, they are actively synthesized from branched-chain AAs (abundant AAs in both plant and animal proteins) and glucose via interorgan metabolism involving primarily the skeletal muscle, heart, adipose tissue, and brain. In addition, ammonia (produced from the general catabolism of AAs) and α-ketoglutarate (α-KG, derived primarily from glucose) serve as substrates for the synthesis of Glu and Gln in avian tissues, particularly the liver. Over the past 20 years, there has been growing interest in Glu and Gln metabolism in the chicken, which is an agriculturally important species and also a useful model for studying some aspects of human physiology and diseases. Increasing evidence shows that the adequate supply of dietary Glu and Gln is crucial for the optimum growth, anti-oxidative responses, productivity, and health of chickens, ducklings, turkeys, and laying fowl, particularly under stress conditions. Like mammals, poultry have dietary requirements for both Glu and Gln. Based on feed intake, tissue integrity, growth performance, and health status, birds can tolerate up to 12% Glu and 3.5% Gln in diets (on the dry matter basis). Glu and Gln are quantitatively major nutrients for chickens and other avian species to support their maximum growth, production, and feed efficiency, as well as their optimum health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Amino acids
  • And poultry
  • Feed efficiency
  • Growth
  • Health
  • Productivity


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