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Physiological function of beta alanine and its application in animal production
May 07, 2018

Beta alanine, the simplest beta type amino acid, is a restrictive amino acid synthesized from human and mammalian endogenetic imidazole two peptide. It has the effect of increasing the content of imidazole two peptide in muscle, improving the antioxidant capacity, enhancing the buffering ability of muscle and anti fatigue. In recent years, with the reduction of production cost, people began to study the application of beta alanine in animal production.

1 Source and metabolism of beta alanine

Beta alanine, the only beta type of amino acid in nature, does not participate in the synthesis of protein, not only the metabolites of uracil and cytosine, but also the components of pantothenic and coenzyme A, which combine with histidine to form the carnosine and its derivative in goose caratine (in animal muscles). Beta alanine exists in free radicals in Rhizobium, tea and mammalian hydrolysates of legumes. Aspartic acid decarboxylation can produce beta alanine under the action of bacterial aspartate decarboxylase.

1.1 Source of beta alanine

The main source of beta alanine in the animal is the liver, which mainly consists of 3 ways: the decomposition of uracil and cytosine, the hydrolysis of the carnosine and the decarboxylation of L - aspartic acid, which mainly comes from the decomposition of pyrimidine.

Beta alanine can also be synthesized by chemical synthesis and microbial transformation. (1) The chemical synthesis method mainly consists of ammoniacal hydrolysis of acrylonitrile, the production of beta aminopropane by ammoniation and hydrolysis of beta alanine in acid or alkaline environment, but a large amount of inorganic salts will be produced in this process. The purity of the product is low and the yield is low.(2) The microbial transformation method was used to produce beta alanine, which was expressed by recombinant Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium glutamate, L aspartic acid alpha decarboxylase gene, and the recombinant enzyme could convert L aspartic acid to beta alanine to produce beta alanine in batch. When the enzyme was 3000U/g, the conversion rate of 100g/L L aspartic acid substrate was up to 97.8%. This process has many advantages, such as simple equipment, mild conditions, less by-products, easy purification, high yield and industrial production requirements, and is being applied increasingly.

1.2 Metabolism of beta alanine

The metabolism of beta alanine is mainly in the brain and muscles. The primary product of metabolism is malonatesemialdehyde (MS), and the final product of normal metabolism is acetic acid.  In the liver, the synthesized beta alanine is transported and circled in blood to the tissue and organs via the taurinetransporter (TauT) and proton coupling amino acid transporter(PAT), and produce carnosine and MS with enzyme playing a corresponding role. Beta alanine plays its role mainly dependending on imidazole dipeptide, which has the biological functions of cushioning muscle pH, anti fatigue, anti oxidation, improving memory function and so on. The content of imidazole dipeptide was higher in the pectoral muscles of poultry.

2 Physiological function of beta alanine

Beta alanine is the only limiting amino acid in the synthesis of imidazole dipeptide, and is a potential functional amino acid. It has been found that beta alanine has a variety of physiological functions: as a neurotransmitter or hormone regulator, regulating metabolism in the body, as an intermediate metabolite of a variety of active substances (coenzyme A and pantothenic acid), against fatigue, improving the body's exercise ability, improving memory and antiaging effect.

3 Application of beta alanine in animal production

Beta alanine can improve animal feed conversion, increase production performance, increase the content of muscle active peptides in muscle, improve muscle antioxidant capacity, improve meat quality, and increase the consumption of taurine in the body.


Beta alanine can regulate muscle metabolism, improve muscle antioxidant capacity, improve meat quality, and have good potential for application in animal production. 

At present, there are few studies on the mechanism of action of beta alanine in animal production. Further systematic and in-depth studies are needed in the following aspects:

1) the suitable dosage of beta alanine in different animal diets, and the research of beta alanine as feed additive is not enough, for example, the dose range of increasing the content of carnosine in broiler is not conclusive.

2) the pathway and mechanism of the action of beta alanine on different parts of the body.

3) the effect and mechanism of beta alanine on livestock and poultry under stress or adverse conditions.

4) the application of beta alanine in combination with other muscle nutrition supplements can regulate the metabolism of animal muscles. It is clear that the rational application of beta alanine in animal production, the practical technology and the mechanism to play the role of the carnosine in animal body still need to be further studied and explored. With the gradual deepening of the understanding of the mechanism of the action of beta alanine, beta alanine will play a greater role in the feed industry and animal production.

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