GuanAMINO® is Evonik’s innovative form of guanidinoacetic acid (GAA), an amino acid derivative and a natural precursor of creatine. Creatine is involved in the energy metabolism of all cells, particularly muscle cells and is a naturally occurring component in animal tissue.

Between 95-98% of the creatine within the body is stored in skeletal muscle in the form of phospho­creatine (PCr). Phosphocreatine is an essential component for the production of cellular ATP, and readily available ATP and PCr molecules improve the efficiency of various biological processes in the animal’s body (such as skeletal development, muscle deposition and protein synthesis).

Creatine is produced by the animal from the precursor GAA which is formed from glycine and arginine within the body. However, only a limited amount of GAA can be synthesised by the broiler chicken through de novo synthesis and therefore the remaining requirement must be supplied through the diet to meet the bird’s requirement for creatine.

Effect of guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) supplementation on growth performance of broilers

A commercial trial consisting of 1680 broilers was conducted to determine the effects of GAA supplementation. Diets consisted of corn-wheat-soybean meal and were supplemented with 0.06% GuanAMINO® in the starter period (day 1-8) and increased to 0.08% in the grower-finisher period (day 9-35). It can be observed from Table 1 that GAA supplementation significantly improved growth performance by increasing the total weight gain and decreasing FCR. In addition, 40 broilers were selected for carcass quality evaluation. As shown in Figure 1, breast meat yield was significantly improved in both male and female broilers.

Table 1: Effects of supplementing GAA at 0,06% (starter) and 0,08 % (grower-finisher) to a commercial broiler diet on the performance of mixed Ross 308 broilers.

TreatmentCommercial dietCommercial diet + GAA
GAA inclusion0,06 % (starter) 0,08 % (grower-finisher)
Feed intake, g3,2883,264
Weight, g2,102 a2,157 b
FCR, g/g1,599 a1,546 b
FCR, corr. g/g1,587 a1,532 b

a, b Values with differing superscripts within a column are statistically significant (p <0,05).

Figure 1: Effects of supplementing GAA at 0,06% (starter) and 0,08 % (grower-finisher) to a commercial broiler diet on breast meat yield of male and female broilers.

a, b: Values with differing superscripts within a column are statistically significant (p <0,05).

A university growth performance trial was conducted in Brazil with 250 broilers to confirm the above results using Cobb 500 genetics. Birds were either supplemented with 0,06% GuanAMINO® or fed a control corn-soya bean based diet. As expected, growth performance was once again significantly improved with the supplementation of GAA, with improved weight gain and FCR as observed in Table 2 and Figure 2. Abdominal fat was also reduced (p <0,05) in broilers supplemented with GAA, thereby improving carcass composition.

Table 2: Effects of supplementing 0,06% GAA on growth performance and carcass traits of Cobb 500 broilers (day 1-35).

VariableBasal dietBasal diet + 0,06 % GAA
Feed intake, g3,0963,076
Body weight gain, g1,810 a1,838 b
FCR, g/g1,71 a1,67 b
Survivability, %99,299,2
Carcass yield, % body weight66,767,9
Breast meat yield, g416383
Abdominal fat, g28,8 a15,6 b

a, b: Values with differing superscripts within a column are statistically significant (p <0,05)

Figure 2: Effects of GAA supplementation on weight gain and FCR of 35-d old broilers.

  a, b: Values with differing superscripts within a column are statistically significant (p <0,05).

Do animal byproducts adequately fulfil the GAA requirement of broilers?

The effect of graded levels of GAA was investigated in Ross 308 broilers fed a vegetable-based diet and these broilers’ growth performance was compared to broilers fed a diet containing 6% meat and bone meal. Table 3 illustrates how the inclusion of meat and bone meal into the vegetable diet improved broiler performance as expected, but the addition of GuanAMINO® into the vegetable-based diet further improved performance over and above that of the animal by-product containing diet. Breast meat yield was also significantly improved with the addition of GAA into the diets.

Table 3: Effects of supplementing GAA on growth performance and carcass traits of Ross 308 broilers (day 1 – 42).

  Overall phase
(1 – 42 days)
 
TreatmentWeight gain (g)Feed intake (g)FCRBreast fillet (%)
Male    
Vegetable diet2 695 bc4 658 ab1,728 a26,1 bc
MBM* diet2 681 c4 546 bc1,696 ab26,0 c
0,04% GAA2 758 ab4 572 abc1,657 bc26,8 ab
0,06% GAA2 719 abc4 573 abc1,682 bc27,0 a
0,08% GAA2 770 a4 679 a1,690 abc26,8 ab
0,12% GAA2 697 bc4 452 c1,651 c26,8 ab
Female    
Vegetable diet2 171 d3 8911,792 a26,2 d
MBM* diet2 215 c3 9201,769 abc26,7 bcd
0,04% GAA2 214 c3 9241,772 ab26,4 cd
0,06% GAA2 233 bc3 9101,751 bc26,8 bc
0,08% GAA2 263 a3 9381,741 c27,2 b
0,12% GAA2 254 ab3 9361,747 bc27,7 a

* Meat and bone meal.
a, b: Values with differing superscripts within a column are statistically significant (p <0,05).

This clearly demonstrates that broilers have an innate requirement for creatine for optimal growth performance and even with the addition of 6% meat and bone meal into the diets does not fully satisfy this requirement. The supplementation of GuanAMINO® can adequately meet the GAA requirement of broilers, thereby improving both growth performance and carcass characteristics.

The observed significant improvements in performance with the addition of GAA into broiler diets may be as a result of an improved cell energy metabolism, as GAA has shown to increase the creatine content in muscle tissue (Lemme et al., 2007, Ringel et al., 2007). In addition, GAA supplementation also increases the levels of certain metabolites related to energy metabolism, such as phosphocreatine and adenosine triphosphate (Lemme et al., 2007). These changes within muscle cells may therefore result in improved nutrient utilization for growth and muscle accretion, thereby improving feed utilisation in broilers.

In conclusion, the supplementation of GAA in the form of GuanAMINO® into broiler diets can significantly improve growth performance and feed utilisation, thereby markedly improving the profitability of a broiler operation. – Natasha van Niekerk, Technical Service Manager, Evonik Africa (Pty) Ltd

For references and more information, contact the author at email natasha.vanniekerk@evonik.com or visit https://animal-nutrition.evonik.com/en/products/healthy-nutritional-solutions/guanamino