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Review (Published online: 27-08-2014)

14. Metabolizable protein systems in ruminant nutrition: A review - Lalatendu Keshary Das, S. S. Kundu, Dinesh Kumar and Chander Datt

Veterinary World, 7(8): 622-629



   doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2014.622-629

Lalatendu Keshary Das: Veterinary Dispensary, Kalampur, Kalahandi, Odisha, India;

S. S. Kundu: Division of Dairy Cattle Nutrition, National DairyResearch Institute, Karnal, Haryana, India;

Dinesh Kumar: Division of Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India;

Chander Datt: Division of Dairy Cattle Nutrition, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana, India;


Received: 15-05-2014, Revised: 07-07-2014, Accepted: 15-07-2014, Published online: 27-08-2014


Corresponding author: Lalatendu Keshary Das, email:

Protein available to ruminants is supplied by both microbial and dietary sources. Metabolizable protein (MP) is the true protein which is absorbed by the intestine and supplied by both microbial protein and protein which escapes degradation in the rumen; the protein which is available to the animal for maintenance, growth, fetal growth during gestation, and milk production. Thus, the concept of balancing ruminant rations basing on only dietary crude protein (CP) content seems erroneous. In India, ruminant rations are still balanced for digestible CP and total digestible nutrients for protein and energy requirements, respectively. Traditional feed analysis methods such as proximate analysis and detergent analysis consider feed protein as a single unit and do not take into account of the degradation processes that occur in rumen and passage rates of feed fractions from rumen to intestine. Therefore, the protein requirement of ruminants should include not only the dietary protein source, but also the microbial CP from rumen. The MP systems consider both the factors, thus predict the protein availability more accurately and precisely. This system is aptly designed to represent the extent of protein degradation in the rumen and the synthesis of microbial protein as variable functions. Feed protein fractions, i.e., rumen degradable protein and rumen undegradable protein play vital roles in meeting protein requirements of rumen microbes and host animal, respectively. With the advent of sophisticated nutrition models such as Cornell net carbohydrate and protein system, National Research Council, Agricultural Research Council, Cornell Penn Miner Dairy and Amino Cow; ration formulation has moved from balancing diets from CP to MP, a concept that describes the protein requirements of ruminantsat intestinal level, and which is available to animals for useful purposes.

Keywords: digestible crude protein, metabolizable protein, microbial protein, protein requirement, total digestible nutrients.

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