Research Reports

Feed preference of weanling pigs fed diets containing extruded corn ground to different particle sizes

Extrusion results in increased digestibility of energy, which is primarily due to increased gelatinization of starch. Because this process improves flavor of cereal grains, it is known that extrusion improves palatability in pig diets. Particle size reduction in cereal grains results in an improved digestibility of nutrients due to increased surface area of grains, which subsequently increases the interaction with digestive enzymes. However, because grinding changes the textural traits of grains, the palatability of feeds is low and thus feed intake of pigs is often reduced.

The feed preference of pigs may be influenced by the characteristics of feed ingredients included in diets, but it is not known if different particle size of extruded corn affects the feed preference of weanling pigs. Therefore, the objective was to test the null hypothesis that there were no effects of reducing particle size of extruded corn on feed preference by weanling pigs.

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Interactive effects of reducing particle size and extrusion on energy digestibility and concentrations of digestible energy and metabolizable energy in corn fed to young pigs

Particle size reduction in cereal grains often results in an improved digestibility of starch due to increased surface area of grains, which subsequently increases the interaction with digestive enzymes. Improvement in the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy (GE) upon particle size reduction has also been demonstrated in corn and a number of other ingredients when fed to weanling or growing-finishing pigs.

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Reproductive performance and immune status of sows fed diets containing Olextra 1200 during lactation

The olive oil tree (Olea europaea L.) contains hydrophilic and lipophilic bioactive compounds, which include flavones, phenolic acids, phenolic alcohols, secoiridoids, and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives. These bioactive compounds have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, and therefore, olive-derived plant bioactive compounds may reduce chronic inflammation and intestinal integrity in pigs. Therefore, olive-derived plant bioactive compounds, such as Olextra 1200, may improve health and prevent disease by inhibiting B cell activation and cytokine expression. However, there is a lack of data demonstrating effects of olive extracts on reproductive performance of sows and their offspring. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to test the hypothesis that dietary supplementation of Olextra 1200 increases reproductive performance as well as the immune status of sows.

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Determination of digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) for salmon proteins

Protein quality has relied on methods such as PDCAAS. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization has proposed a new method called DIAAS to better assess protein quality in human foods using the pig as a model. This shift is crucial, not only for optimizing diets, but also for understanding the nutritional value of protein-rich foods. According to the DIAAS method, protein claims can only be made for foods with a score above 75. In general, animal-based foods are considered high quality proteins with score above 75 or 100, being, in most cases, complete proteins that can complement lower quality proteins such as plant-based proteins. Meats, eggs, and fish are examples of high quality proteins, however, salmon proteins are also available, and use of by-products in human consumption has been increasing due to their nutritional value and versatility. Novel sources of salmon proteins such as salmon hydrolysate that may be used in human nutrition have been developed. Salmon hydrolysate proteins contain more than 68% crude protein (CP) and are highly digestible food ingredients, but limited information demonstrating the protein quality of these products is available. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the standardized ileal digestibility (SID) of amino acids (AA) and the digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS) for salmon proteins when fed to growing pigs.

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Digestibility of energy by gestating and lactating sows and concentrations of digestible and metabolizable energy in diets containing pistachio shell powder or soybean hulls

California is a leading producer of pistachios in the United States and globally and it is estimated that annual production will reach 2.08 billion pounds in 2031. As a result, about 31.2 million pounds of shells will be produced after the nuts are processed for human consumption. Pistachio shells have been viewed as a waste product and are frequently disposed of using ecologically friendly practices. However, it is possible that pistachio shell powder can be used as a high fiber ingredient for swine. Specifically, gestating sows may benefit from the high fiber concentration in pistachio shell powder because this may increase satiety and reduce stress. However, at this time, there is no information about the nutritional value of pistachio shell powder when fed to sows. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy (GE) and concentrations of digestible energy (DE) and metabolizable energy (ME) in pistachio shell powder are not different from those in soybean hulls when fed to gestating sows. The second hypothesis was that the ATTD of GE and DE in pistachio shell powder are not different from those in soybean hulls when fed to lactating sows.

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Xylanase and a stimbiotic increased growth performance and total tract digestibility of nutrients in diets for weanling pigs, but feeding sows xylanase in lactation did not influence pig growth performance

Arabinoxylans are the predominant fiber component in cereal grains and cereal co-products. They have a backbone of β-(1− 4) linked xylose units with side chains of arabinose, glucuronic acid, acetyl, and phenolic acids. Xylanase hydrolyzes the β-(1− 4) glycosidic bonds between xylose units in the backbone and releases a mixture of xylose and xylo-oligosaccharides that can be either absorbed or fermented by pigs. Previous data indicate that xylanase increased the degradation of dietary fiber and increased energy digestibility in diets for growing pigs and lactating sows. Xylo-oligosaccharides improve growth performance of nursery pigs because they serve as prebiotics that modulate gut microbiota. A stimbiotic (i.e., xylanase in combination with xylo-oligosaccharides) may improve growth performance of weanling pigs to a greater extent than either additive alone by shifting the intestinal microbiome to favor fiber fermentation. However, there are no data on possible effects of xylanase in sows diets on growth performance and intestinal health of the offspring or on the impact of the stimbiotic on digestibility of nutrients when fed to nursery pigs. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that xylanase or a stimbiotic improves growth performance and the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of dry matter (DM), gross energy (GE), and total dietary fiber (TDF), and the concentration of digestible energy (DE) of diets for weanling pigs, but that the effect is greater in offspring of sows fed xylanase in lactation than in offspring of sows not fed xylanase.

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Effects of source of calcium carbonate and microbial phytase on digestibility of calcium

It is important that the digestibility of Ca in Ca sources is known to formulate diets based on values for digestible Ca rather than total Ca. Only a small amount of the Ca required by pigs is provided by plant-based ingredients and supplementation of Ca from Ca phosphates and Ca carbonate, is usually required to meet the requirement by pigs. In addition, use of microbial phytase increases Ca digestibility in Ca carbonate, which is one of the major sources of Ca in pig diets.

Differences in Ca digestibility in 4 sources of Ca carbonate produced in the United States have been observed, but it is unknown if there are differences in the ATTD of Ca in calcium carbonate sources produced outside the United States. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to test the hypothesis that there are differences in the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) and standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) of Ca and in the response to microbial phytase among 20 sources of Ca carbonate obtained from different parts of the world.

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Digestible indispensable amino acid scores (DIAAS) in egg proteins and additivity of DIAAS in egg-style combinations

Protein malnutrition is a serious problem in both underdeveloped countries and the U.S., where many children and elderly people don't get enough protein. To determine the quality of food proteins, experts use a method called digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS), which measures how well the body can digest the amino acids in a food item. The FAO recommended this method in 2011. According to the DIAAS method, protein claims can only be made for foods with a score above 75. Eggs are rich in protein and essential amino acids needed for muscle development and bodily functions. However, it's important to consider how eggs are cooked, as different methods can affect the availability of amino acids. Eggs are often eaten with other foods, and it's believed that the high-quality protein in eggs can make up for the lower quality of protein in plant ingredients when eaten together, but more research is needed to confirm this. Therefore, the objectives of this experiment were to determine DIAAS for eggs cooked in different forms and in traditional egg-style combinations with breads or hash brown, and test the hypothesis that protein quality in eggs can compensate for the low protein quality of plant-based ingredients and that DIAAS in different combined meals is additive.

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Supplementation of Valine, Isoleucine, and Tryptophan may overcome the negative effects of dietary excess Leucine in corn protein when fed to weanling pigs

High protein corn protein (HPCP) is a corn co-product derived from the ethanol industry that contains between 40 and 50% crude protein, and therefore, may be used in diets for pigs as a source of amino acids (AA). However, such diets will contain more than twice as much Leu as recommended and there is a negative relationship between dietary Leu and brain synthesis of serotonin, which results in reduced feed intake of pigs fed diets containing excess Leu. There is also a reduced protein synthesis because of increased Val and Ile metabolism due to excess dietary Leu. As a consequence, pigs often have reduced growth performance if fed diets with high concentrations of HPCP. However, it may be possible to counteract the negative effects of the high Leu concentrations in corn co-products by adding crystalline sources of Trp, Val, and Ile to the diets and it may, therefore, be possible that HPCP can be used in diets without influencing growth performance or intestinal health of weanling pigs. Therefore, the hypothesis that HPCP may be used as the primary source of AA in diets for weanling pigs if diets are fortified with crystalline AA was tested. 

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Concentration of net energy in diets containing three different sources of field peas with different particle sizes fed to group-housed growing pigs

Field peas (Pisum sativum L.) are an annual season grain legume crop and are cultivated in areas that are too cold for the cultivation of soybeans. Market opportunities for field peas have increased in recent years, and the cost of cultivation is less for peas than for soybeans. The concentration of starch in field peas is less, but crude protein and amino acids are greater than in cereal grains. Therefore, in addition to providing amino acids, field peas also provide energy to swine diets, which is important because energy is the most expensive component in diets. As a consequence, it is important to determine the energy value of field peas. Agronomic practices, growing location, and differences among varieties may impact the nutritional properties of field peas, including energy digestibility. It was also observed that in-vitro energy digestibility of field peas was increased by reducing the particle size. However, there is no information on the effects of reducing particle size on concentrations of digestible energy (DE), metabolizable energy (ME), or net energy (NE) in field peas fed to group-housed pigs. Likewise, the digestibility of energy in field peas grown in the U.S. has not been compared with the digestibility of energy of field peas grown in Canada. Therefore, the objective of this research was to test the hypothesis that the particle size of field peas and the location where field peas were grown may affect the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy (GE) and concentration of NE in field peas fed to growing pigs.  

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Concentration of net energy in corn without or with microbial phytase fed to group-housed pigs

Corn is the primary grain used in pig diets and provides most energy to the diets. Because energy is the most expensive component in diet formulation, it is critical to accurately determine energy concentrations in corn. Use of exogenous phytase in pig diets has been a standard and most phytase is expected to generate extra-phosphoric effects that result in increases in minerals, amino acid, or energy digestibility. Therefore, phytase companies have provided customers with matrix values that can be used for down specs of energy and nutrients in diet formulation. It is thus important to confirm if dietary phytase releases energy and other nutrients as suggested before using them. To our knowledge, however, there is no information on how much phytase can increase net energy (NE) in corn when fed to group-housed pigs. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to test the hypothesis that addition of microbial phytase to a corn-based diet increased the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy (GE) and concentration of NE by group-housed growing pigs.

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Both pelleting and reducing particle size of corn increase net energy and digestibility of amino acids and fat in corn-soybean meal diets fed to growing pigs

Pelleting and reducing particle size of grains often improve nutrient digestibility by pigs. Pelleting may also reduce particle size of grains, and it is not known if improvements in nutrient digestibility obtained by reducing the particle size of grain and improvements obtained by pelleting are additive or if there are interactions between particle size reduction and pelleting. Therefore, two experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that particle size reduction and pelleting, separately or in combination, increase the apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of starch, the standardized ileal digestibility (SID) of amino acids (AA), N balance, apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy (GE), fiber, and fat, and net energy (NE) in corn-soybean meal diets fed to growing pigs.

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Exogenous xylanase increases digestibility of energy and fiber in diets for gestating and lactating sows

Exogenous enzymes may improve the fermentability of dietary fiber in swine diets by hydrolyzing non-starch polysaccharides into oligosaccharides and sugars. In particular, the enzyme xylanase hydrolyzes the β-(1-4) glycosidic bonds between the xylose units in the backbone of arabinoxylans in cereal grains and grain coproducts, resulting in the release of a combination of xylose, arabinose, and xylo-oligosaccharides from arabinoxylans that can be fermented by pigs. Previous data indicate that xylanase increased the degradation of dietary fiber and increased energy digestibility in diets for growing pigs; however, there are limited data for the impact of xylanase on energy and fiber digestibility in gestating and lactating sows. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that exogenous xylanase added to diets for gestating and lactating sows will increase the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy and total dietary fiber (TDF), and increase the concentrations of digestible energy (DE) and metabolizable energy (ME) during two reproductive cycles.

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Effects of different corn sources and drying temperature on digestibility of energy and total dietary fiber in diets fed to growing pigs

Drying temperatures and corn varieties that inherently differ in kernel hardness, virtuousness, and protein solubility index may influence nutrient digestibility in corn. However, information about interactive effects of corn source (i.e., endosperm hardness) and drying method on energy and nutrient digestibility is limited. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that that the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of gross energy (GE) and total dietary fiber (TDF) is influenced by corn source and drying temperature.

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Effects of different protein sources in low-phosphorus diets on the basal endogenous loss of phosphorus by growing pigs

Phosphorus is one of the most expensive nutrients in swine diets. Use of standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) of P, instead of apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD), may reduce the cost of diets because STTD values, unlike ATTD values, are additive in mixed diets. Values for STTD of P can be determined by correcting ATTD of P for the basal endogenous loss of P. The basal endogenous loss of P is estimated by using a P-free diet. Gelatin has been widely used in P-free diets because it does not contain any P and is a good source of protein. However, gelatin products can make diets dusty and sticky which can reduce the palatability of these diets and make them hard to work with. In addition, feeding pigs with diets containing no P may cause health issues in pigs. Blood plasma, casein, and potato protein concentrate are possible protein alternatives to gelatin because the P in blood plasma and casein is close to 100% digestible and potato protein concentrate provides very little P. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to test the hypothesis that the basal endogenous loss of P from pigs fed a diet containing blood plasma, casein, or potato protein concentrate are not different from that of pigs fed a diet containing gelatin.

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Amino acid digestibility in soybean meal and crystalline amino acid based diets fed to growing pigs

Soybean meal (SBM) is the major source of amino acids (AA) and energy in diets for swine throughout the world. However, due to the emergence of feed-grade crystalline AA, it is estimated that SBM usage by pigs has been reduced by at least 35% over the last 25 years. Reduction on concentration of SBM and increasing the use of crystalline AA in diets may impact the digestibility of crude protein (CP) and AA. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to test the hypothesis that diets containing corn, SBM, and crystalline AA have greater AA digestibility compared with corn and SBM diets.

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Effects of different corn sources and drying temperature on ileal digestibility of starch and amino acids in diets fed to growing pigs

Drying temperatures and corn varieties that inherently differ in kernel hardness, virtuousness, and protein solubility index may influence nutrient digestibility in corn. However, information about interactive effects of corn source (i.e., endosperm hardness) and drying method on nutrient digestibility is limited. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that the ileal digestibility of starch, crude protein (CP), and amino acids (AA) is influenced by corn source and drying temperature.

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Metabolizable energy and amino acid digestibility by growing pigs may be reduced if excessive heat is applied during drying of corn

Corn is harvested at a high moisture level, and thus must be dried to less than 15% moisture to ensure safe storage. Improvements to reduce the energy consumption of the dryers have been implemented, especially by increasing the inlet air temperature. However, overheating may have a negative impact on the stability of nutrients, especially amino acids (AA), because Maillard reactions may occur if heat and moisture are applied to feed ingredients. Consequently, Maillard reactions result in a decrease in the concentration and digestibility of AA, and it is possible that energy digestibility is also reduced. Therefore, the objective of these experiments was to test the hypothesis that both the temperature used in drying and the time that heat is applied will affect the standardized ileal digestibility (SID) of AA, and concentration of digestible energy (DE) and metabolizable energy (ME) in corn fed to growing pigs.

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Standardized total tract digestibility of phosphorus in a new variety of soybeans fed to growing pigs

More than half of P in soybeans are bound to phytate which causes a low digestibility of P when fed to pigs. However, new varieties that have different characteristics are sometimes developed and an example is the Photoseed variety of soybeans that captures more carbon and sunlight leading to a more nutrient rich ingredient and a reduced footprint from crop production. There is, however, no information about the nutritional value of the soybean meal produced from the Photoseed variety of soybeans. Therefore, the objective of this research was to test the hypothesis that the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) and the standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) of P is not different in soybean meal produced from Photoseed soybeans compared with control soybean meal when fed to pigs.

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Digestibility of phosphorus in high protein corn co-products fed to growing pigs

New sources of high protein corn co-products have been recently developed and may be included in diets fed to pigs. Phytase is often employed during fermentation in the bioethanol process to improve the efficiency of fermentation. However, the use of phytase during fermentation may impact the nature of phosphorus (P) in any post fermentation products, which could subsequently alter the levels of phytate-bound and non-phytate P. As a consequence, this may influence digestibility and concentration of digestible P in any feed product derived from fermentation. Therefore, an experiment was conducted to determine the standardized total tract digestibility (STTD) of P in high protein corn fermented products and in the residual distillers dried grains and solubles (DDGS) produced from a fermentation with or without the use of phytase. It is also the objective of this experiment to test the hypothesis that inclusion of phytase during the fermentation process increases P digestibility in corn co-products.

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