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The language of nutrition: MP (Metabolizable protein)

Gustavo Cruz Published on 06 February 2015

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In layman’s terms, what does metabolizable protein (MP) mean?

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Metabolizable protein (MP) is the total amount of amino acid absorbed in the small intestine. The main sources of amino acid to the intestine are rumen-undegradable protein (RUP), microbial crude protein (MCP), and to a lesser extent, endogenous crude protein (ECP).

These absorbed amino acids will be used by the animal in numerous metabolic processes, such as milk production, immune system, reproduction, etc.

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How is it measured?

Measurement of RDP and RUP can be done in situ or in vitro, and measurement of microbial crude protein requires a more elaborate technique, sampling content from the rumen, abomasum and small intestine, and using external markers.

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What impact does it have on a ration?

Balancing rations for RDP, RUP and MP leads to an improvement in nitrogen efficiency, which has a direct effect on nitrogen excretion, feed costs and performance.

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Please explain what this does in the ration.

In order to optimize production with the least-cost diet, it is fundamental to know the RDP and RUP for each feedstuff as well as the animal’s requirement for each amino acid at different stages of production.

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What percentage of your clients do you think really understand this value?

I would say that 100 percent of the field nutritionists are aware of the importance of balancing a diet based on amino acid requirements – and probably 80 percent would be able to explain in detail how MP is measured and calculated. PD

Gustavo Cruz is a ruminants R&D manager with Cargill. He can be contacted by email.

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