Targeted use of amino acids offers ecological advantages

Feeding concepts with targeted use of amino acids can increase the use of regional raw materials and thus reduce the ecological footprint.
Feeding concepts with targeted use of amino acids can increase the use of regional raw materials and thus reduce the ecological footprint.

Feeding concepts based on amino acids reduce acidification, eutrophication, and nitrogen-based emissions. They also enable the use of regional raw materials with a smaller ecological footprint. This is the result of a comparative life cycle assessment by Evonik.

A global life cycle assessment analyzed the environmental impact of feeding pigs, broilers and laying hens. The study was audited and certified by TÜV Rheinland in accordance with ISO 14040 and 14044 in the second quarter of 2021. This comparative life cycle assessment further demonstrated the ecological advantages of using its feed amino acids and feeding concepts compared with standard animal feed, Evonik, the world's leading supplier of specialty chemicals, announced.

Low-protein feeding is good for the climate

In the new life cycle assessment, the environmental impact of animal species and developmentally appropriate feeding of pigs, broilers, and laying hens with balanced amino acid profiles and low crude protein content was evaluated according to the following criteria: greenhouse effect, acidification and eutrophication potential, blue water consumption, land use, and breathable inorganics. Emissions from feedstock production, animal husbandry, and manure processing were included in the analysis.

Fewer nitrogen emissions

"We found that our feeding concepts and amino acids can have significant effects in reducing climate change and nitrogen-based emissions," says Dr. Michael Binder, responsible for Sustainability Development in the Animal Nutrition business unit. "Their application can reduce acidification, eutrophication and the release of respirable inorganics caused by ammonia." He said the study also highlights another advantage of low-protein feeding: the ability to use regional raw materials with a smaller environmental footprint.

In 2010, Evonik presented the first TÜV-certified comparative life cycle assessment for feed supplements containing the essential amino acids methionine, lysine, threonine and tryptophan. A second followed in 2015, which also included valine. Both times, feeds without amino acid supplementation served as comparisons. "Amino acid supplementation is common practice in many parts of the world today," says Dr. Jan-Olaf Barth, head of the Efficient Nutrition product line at Evonik. That was taken into account in the current study, as were regional differences in feed composition.