The plasma free amino acid dose-response technique: A proposed methodology for determining lysine relative bioavailability of rumen-protected lysine supplements

J Dairy Sci. 2017 Dec;100(12):9585-9601. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-12695. Epub 2017 Sep 28.


Estimates of Lys bioavailability of rumen-protected Lys (RP-Lys) supplements are often obtained using in vitro or 2-step in situ techniques, with little to no data determining efficacy and bioavailability in vivo. The objective of this study was to further evaluate and refine the use of the plasma free AA dose-response technique as a method for determining Lys relative bioavailability of RP-Lys supplements. Thirteen dose-response Latin square studies using 87 lactating, ruminally cannulated multiparous Holstein cows (days in milk from 55 to 315 and milk yield from 12 to 62 kg/d at the start of the studies) were conducted to measure the relative bioavailability of RP-Lys supplements. Intestinal (1 study) and abomasal (12 studies) infusions of Lys ranged from 0 to 84 g/d, and experimental periods ranged from 4 to 21 d. Basal diets were formulated to be adequate in metabolizable Met, but varied in predicted metabolizable Lys (5.04 to 6.81% of metabolizable protein). One to 4 daily blood samples were taken from the coccygeal vessels for 1 to 3 consecutive days in each period. Plasma Lys concentration in cows assigned to the control treatment (0 g/d Lys) ranged from 1.83 to 5.21% of total plasma AA, whereas that from cows duodenally or abomasally infused with Lys ranged from 2.53 to 7.51% of total plasma AA. Results from studies involving more than 2 amounts of infused Lys confirmed linearity of response. The following variables were regressed against the plasma Lys dose-response slopes generated from the Lys infusion treatments to examine their effects on the magnitude of the slopes: plasma Lys concentration of the control diet, plasma Lys concentration at the greatest amount of infused Lys, net energy of lactation and metabolizable protein balances, metabolizable protein supply, days in milk, milk yield, milk concentrations of fat, true protein, and lactose, milk true protein yield, and dry matter intake. The variable having the greatest effect on the magnitude of the dose-response slope was the plasma Lys concentration at the greatest amount infused. The relative bioavailability of evaluated RP-Lys supplements using the plasma free AA dose-response technique ranged from 5 to 87%. It was concluded that plasma free Lys increases in a linear fashion to increasing amounts of absorbed Lys and that the dose-response technique is an appropriate technique for evaluating RP-Lys supplements.

Keywords: dairy cow; dose-response; lysine; relative bioavailability.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Cattle / metabolism*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Lysine / administration & dosage*
  • Lysine / blood
  • Lysine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Methionine / administration & dosage
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Rumen / metabolism*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Methionine
  • Lysine