Essential Amino Acids
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Essential Amino Acids

Essential Amino Acids


Soybean quality has traditionally been measured by crude protein content. However, recent research shows that measuring the presence and balance of essential amino acids is a better way to assess soybean quality.


Crude protein percentage is an estimate of the total amino acids based on the level of nitrogen detected and does not equate to higher protein quality or better nutritional value for feeding livestock. Because feed rations are formulated based on the amino acid content, its logical that a critical amino acid value (CAAV) is a better way to measure soybean quality. When nutritionists and producers know the CAAV, they know the true value in the feed.

Because soybeans grown in northern climates tend to have a favorable essential amino acid profile, farmers from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota have teamed up to promote the CAAV as a better measure of soybean quality. Farmers and industry leaders actively promote essential amino acid content to overseas buyers, feed millers and nutritionists in order to highlight the quality of northern-grown soybeans and differentiate them from their competitors.


A diet using meal from a lower crude protein soybean with a naturally higher CAAV can contribute to healthier animals and a cleaner environment. Amino acids are required for overall health, fetal development, muscle growth, and production of meat, milk and eggs in monogastric livestock, poultry and farm raised fish. When these five EAAs are not present in sufficient quantities in feed ingredients, nutritionists must supplement with synthetic amino acids, increasing production costs.


Learn more about essential amino acids and calculate your critical amino acid value here.