Author(s): Chalova VI, Froelich CA Jr, Ricke SC
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Abstract Methionine is an essential amino acid for animals and is typically considered one of the first limiting amino acids in animal feed formulations. Methionine deficiency or excess in animal diets can lead to sub-optimal animal performance and increased environmental pollution, which necessitates its accurate quantification and proper dosage in animal rations. Animal bioassays are the current industry standard to quantify methionine bioavailability. However, animal-based assays are not only time consuming, but expensive and are becoming more scrutinized by governmental regulations. In addition, a variety of artifacts can hinder the variability and time efficacy of these assays. Microbiological assays, which are based on a microbial response to external supplementation of a particular nutrient such as methionine, appear to be attractive potential alternatives to the already established standards. They are rapid and inexpensive in vitro assays which are characterized with relatively accurate and consistent estimation of digestible methionine in feeds and feed ingredients. The current review discusses the potential to develop Escherichia coli-based microbial biosensors for methionine bioavailability quantification. Methionine biosynthesis and regulation pathways are overviewed in relation to genetic manipulation required for the generation of a respective methionine auxotroph that could be practical for a routine bioassay. A prospective utilization of Escherichia coli methionine biosensor would allow for inexpensive and rapid methionine quantification and ultimately enable timely assessment of nutritional profiles of feedstuffs.
This article was published in Sensors (Basel)
and referenced in Journal of Probiotics & Health