Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Essential role of methyl donors in animal productivity

P. B. Cronje
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Cronje Consulting, 3 Quambi Place, Buderim, Qld 4556, Australia. Email: pierre.cronje@bigpond.com

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15729
Submitted: 19 October 2015  Accepted: 27 January 2016   Published online: 3 May 2016

Abstract

Dietary requirements for the methyl donors, choline, betaine and folate, in livestock species are poorly defined and have not been included in diet formulation software or simulation models for animals. A deficiency of methyl donors may promote an inflammatory state, which is significant for the livestock industry because chronic low-grade inflammation is widespread among livestock under commercial conditions. Furthermore, recent evidence showing that methyl donors activate adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, an anti-inflammatory master switch, indicates that dietary methyl-donor supplementation could be used to prevent or ameliorate chronic inflammation and its sequelae in livestock, which include fatty liver disease in dairy cows, fatty liver and kidney syndrome in broilers, fatty liver haemorrhagic syndrome in layers, gut ulcers in pigs, liver abscesses in feedlot cattle, enteritis in poultry and susceptibility to heat stress in all species. Because of the complexity of interactions among methyl donors, a modelling approach inclusive of a supporting research effort will be required to harness the potential of methyl-donor supplementation in livestock production.

Additional keywords: AMPK, review, steatosis, TNF, trimethylglycine, tumour necrosis factor.


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