Amino acids (AA) are organic compounds necessary for protein synthesis and other biochemical reactions. Of the 20 proteinogen AA, nine are essential AA that cannot be synthesized by the body and need to be taken up with the diet. Methionine (Met) is one example of these essential AA in humans and other vertebrates. In livestock animals such as poultry, pigs and high yielding dairy cows, Met further represents a performance-limiting AA, meaning that optimum Met supplementation is crucial for optimum performance. Therefore, feed supplementation with different Met sources (L-Met, DL-Met and the hydroxy analogue DL-HMTBA) is widely applied in animal nutrition.
Our group uses integrative research approaches to study the absorption and metabolism of Met and other AA in livestock animals using feeding trials in living animals, as well as ex vivo and in vitro studies to identify the molecular and functional characteristics of AA transport and metabolism. The methodical spectrum is very wide including Ussing chambers for functional studies and cutting-edge molecular biology and biochemical techniques (e.g., western blot, real-time quantitative PCR, immunofluorescence microscopy, HPLC, and metabolomics).