The responses of growing poultry to individual amino acids are influenced by a wide range of factors. These include: environmental temperature, immunological stress, sex, age, species and several dietary factors. Critical evaluation indicates that these factors readily resolve into those that influence food intake and those that reduce efficiency of utilization of the amino acid in question. The distinction between the two categories of factors only emerges if responses are considered in relation to amino acid intake. Food intake-mediated factors may elicit differences in responses when these are plotted against dietary amino acid concentrations. However, any disparity effectively disappears on considering responses in terms of amino acid intake as data points merge into a single response curve. On the other hand, factors reducing the efficiency of utilization of an amino acid induce differences that are sustained even when responses are viewed in the context of amino acid intake. In particular, the appearance of discrete response curves, within the range of limiting intakes, is clear evidence that efficiency of utilization has been affected, whereas differences in asymptote are not relevant in this respect.
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