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Genetic selection for increased sow prolificacy has resulted in decreased mean piglet birth weight. This study aimed to investigate the effect of l-carnitine (CAR) supplementation to sows during gestation and/or lactation on sow productivity, semitendinosus muscle (STM) maturity and lifetime growth in progeny. Sixty-four sows were randomly assigned to one of the four dietary treatments at breeding until weaning: CONTROL (0 mg CAR/d), GEST (125 mg CAR/d during gestation), LACT (250 mg CAR/d during lactation) and BOTH (125 mg CAR/d during gestation and 250 mg CAR/d during lactation). The total number of piglets born per litter was greater for sows supplemented with CAR during gestation (17·3 v. 15·8 (sem 0·52); P < 0·05). Piglet birth weight (total and live) was unaffected by sow treatment (P > 0·05). Total myofibre number (P = 0·08) and the expression level of selected myosin heavy chain genes in the STM (P < 0·05) were greater in piglets of sows supplemented with CAR during gestation. Pigs from sows supplemented with CAR during gestation had lighter carcasses at slaughter than pigs from non-supplemented sows during gestation (83·8 v. 86·7 (sem 0·86) kg; P < 0·05). In conclusion, CAR supplementation during gestation increased litter size at birth without compromising piglet birth weight. Results also showed that the STM of piglets born to sows supplemented with CAR during gestation was more developed at birth. However, carcass weight at slaughter was reduced in progeny of sows supplemented with CAR during gestation. The CAR supplementation strategy applied during gestation in this study could be utilised by commercial pork producers to increase sow litter size and improve offspring muscle development.
In addition to a multifactorial etiology of nutritional, social and environmental stressors, post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) in pigs is often related to infection with specific pathogens such as enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC). In swine farming operations, the incidence of PWD is a global concern and is associated with an unbalanced gut status, resulting in poor performance and high antimicrobial consumption via prophylaxis and metaphylaxis. Increases in antimicrobial resistance are reinforcing an already-urgent need for sustainable, alternative solutions for maintaining optimal gut health in livestock. Tannin-rich plants and extracts contain bioactive compounds that could be of great interest in this respect. This review describes how the use of tannins around weaning could be beneficial for pigs, with special emphasis on the reduction of ETEC-related PWD. An overview of the broad chemical diversity of tannins is presented together with their physicochemical and biological properties, as well as how they may be metabolized in the digestive tract. The pharmacological effects exerted by tannins are summarized; more precisely, the possible mechanisms by which tannins can disrupt the different steps of the pathogenesis of ETEC-related PWD are highlighted. The factors affecting the bioactivity of tannins are also discussed, shedding light on the importance of chemical structure among different tannins.
The optimized use of dietary nutrients and the accurate knowledge of the growth dynamics of body components is important for efficient pig production. This study aimed at evaluating the growth of carcass components and organs of Swiss Large White pigs from birth to 140 kg BW depending on the CP and amino acid (AA) supply. A total of 66 entire males (EM), 58 castrates (CA) and 66 female (FE) pigs were used. From 20 kg BW onwards, they had either ad libitum access to a control (C) or a diet (LP) with 20% lower CP, lysine, methionine + cystine, threonine and tryptophan content compared to C. The weight of organs, primal cuts and external fat were recorded in eight EM and eight FE; at 10 kg BW, on two EM, CA and FE each, and at 20 kg BW, on eight pigs from each sex. From 40 to 140 kg BW at 20 kg intervals, measurements were recorded on four pigs per sex and dietary treatment. The weight of each component was related to empty body (EB) using allometric regressions. Kidneys were heavier (P<0.05) in C- than LP-pigs and in EM than CA and FE. Above 21 kg EB weight, growth rate of LP-FE overpassed (P<0.05) the one of C-pigs. Consequently, LP-FE had heavier (P<0.05) lean cuts than C-pigs in the finisher period. However, LP-CA and LP-EM displayed lower (P<0.05) weights and growth rates of the lean cuts than C-CA and C-EM. Shoulder and loin weights and growth rates were reduced (P<0.05) in LP-pigs when compared to C-pigs. Growth rates of the ham were greater (P<0.05) in LP-FE than C-FE, whereas in LP-EM and LP-CA they were lower (P<0.05) than their C-counterparts. Total amounts of subcutaneous fat, backfat, ham fat and shoulder fat were lower (P<0.05) in C- than LP-pigs. The total amount of subcutaneous fat, backfat and shoulder fat of C-CA was, regardless of diet, greater (P<0.05) than of C-FE. In the LP group, this difference was even more pronounced. The amount of deposited ham fat was greater (P<0.05) in LP-CA than LP-FE, but not in C-CA v. C-FE. Differences in kidney weights suggested a greater nitrogen clearance required in C-pigs. Overall, dietary restriction and sex did not affect all body parts to the same extent. This study further suggests the possibility to reduce the CP and AA supply in FE without compromising the yield of primal lean cuts or increasing the amount of subcutaneous fat.
Mineral composition and relative deposition rates in the pig’s body are used to assess the mineral net requirements for growth and input–output balances. The study aimed to examine the dynamics of changes in mineral composition and deposition rates in the empty body (EB) from birth to 140 kg BW depending on dietary protein supply. In the experiment, 66 entire male, 58 castrated and 66 female Swiss Large White pigs were used to determine body composition at birth, 10, 20 kg and at 20 kg intervals from 40 to 140 kg BW. From 20 kg BW, they had either ad libitum access to a control grower and finisher diet or a grower and finisher diet containing 80% CP, lysine, methione+cystine, threonine and tryptophan of the control diet. Each EB fraction (carcass, organs and empty intestines, blood and bile) was weighed and analyzed for water, ash, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper, iron, manganese and zinc contents. Allometric relationships between the amount of each mineral in the EB and the EB weight (EBW) were fitted. The R2 of the allometric equations was above 0.92, except for copper and manganese (below 0.33), revealing the EBW as an excellent explanatory variable of the analyzed amounts. The copper and manganese composition in the EB were extremely low and variable which explain the low R2. Except for zinc, all mineral relative deposition rates decreased with increasing EBW. The amount of ash, calcium and phosphorus in the EB was not affected by the diet, but when expressed relative to body protein these minerals were increased when pigs were fed the low protein diet. This suggests an independent protein deposition and bone mineralization when animals are fed diets limiting in protein content. The diet also affected the amount of potassium in the EB which was greater when the low protein diet was fed. The gender only affected the amounts of potassium and sodium in the EB which were greater in entire males. Entire males had also greater amounts of water in the EB, which may explain the observed effect of gender on these two electrolytes. Finally, gender and dietary protein did not affect to a sufficient relevant way the body mineral composition and deposition rates in the EB, suggesting that their distinction may not be necessary to assess, on BW basis, the mineral net requirements for growth and the exported amount of minerals in input–output balances.
Breeding efforts over the last decades altered markedly empty body (EB) composition of pigs. This study aimed to re-evaluate the dynamics of changes in the composition and deposition rate of fat, protein and amino acids (AA) in the EB from birth to 140 kg BW depending on the dietary CP and AA supply in a current pig genotype. In the experiment 66 entire male, 58 castrated and 66 female Swiss Large White pigs were used. From 20 kg BW onwards, they had either ad libitum access to a control (C) diet or a diet (LP) compared to diet C only 80% of CP, lysine, methione+cystine, threonine and tryptophan. The EB composition was determined at birth on eight boars and eight females, at 10 and 20 kg BW on two boars, two castrates and two females, and at 20 kg intervals from 40 to 140 kg BW, on four pigs per gender and dietary treatment. Each EB fraction was weighed and analysed for protein, fat and AA profile. The AA-to-lysine ratio was calculated and the different chemical component contents were fitted to allometric regressions. Overall, C-boars had the greatest EB protein and AA content and deposition rates, and lowest fat content and deposition rates. At the beginning of the grower period, LP-castrates and females displayed the lowest protein and AA and the highest fat deposition rates. However, compared with their counterparts in the C-group, in LP-castrates and females protein and AA deposition rates were greater above 64 and 40 kg EB weight, respectively, whereas fat deposition rates was lower above 80 kg EB weight. Thus, there seems a great potential to optimise protein and AA efficiency especially in the finisher period in castrates and females. Important individual variations were found in the essential AA-to-lysine ratio of the EB. Phenylalanine and threonine-to-lysine ratios decreased with increasing EB weight. Valine- and threonine-to-lysine ratios in C-castrates and C-females were 5% and 4% greater than recently reported by the National Research Council (NRC) whereas cysteine-, methionine- and tyrosine-to-lysine ratios were lower by 34%, 25% and 10%, respectively. The clear differences found between the EB AA-to-lysine ratios in the present study and the NRC might partly be explained by the genotype and the temporal changes in the relative weight of each EB fraction or changes in the AA profile. Nevertheless, these findings on changes in the essential AA profile of tissue protein warrant further studies.
As a result of the selection for genotypes with greater sow prolificacy, litter size increased and, concomitantly, average litter birth weight and early postnatal survival rates of low birth weight (L-BtW) offspring decreased. This study compared the impact of l-carnitine (CAR) and l-arginine (ARG) supplemented with a milk replacer and fed to L-BtW piglets born from large litters from days 7 to 28 of age on growth performance, carcass composition, organ and Semitendinosus muscle (STM) development. A total of 30 female and castrated Swiss Large White piglets weaned at 7 days of age were assigned to three milk replacer diets containing either no supplement (CON), CAR (0.40 g/piglet per day) or ARG (1.08 g/kg BW per day). Piglets were kept in pairs in rescue decks (0.54 m2). They were weighed daily and daily allowance of both, feed and ARG, was adjusted accordingly. Thus, feed allowance depended on growth. Each day, the milk replacer was prepared with water (1:4). Feed (allowance: 60 g dry matter/kg BW per day) was offered daily in six equal rations. Feed intake and feed efficiency was assessed for the pairs and apparent total tract-energy and -protein digestibility was determined from days 21 to 28 of age. On day 28, piglets were euthanized, blood samples were collected and the whole STM and organs were weighed. In STM, the size and metabolic properties of myofibers were determined. No difference in growth performance was found between dietary treatments, but piglets from the CAR group tended (P<0.10) to grow faster during the 1st experimental week and consume more feed from days 14 to 21 as compared with piglets of the CON group. A setback in growth in the last week in the CAR group coincided with the lower (P<0.05) energy and protein digestibility. Dietary treatments had no effect on STM and organ weight and myofiber size. Compared with the other groups, there were trends (P<0.10) for blood serum urea and glucose level to be greater in CAR and for non-esterified fatty acid level to be greater in ARG piglets. The greater (P<0.05) ratio of lactate dehydrogenase to either citrate synthase or β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase indicated that the relative importance of the glycolytic compared with the oxidative pathway was greater in STM of CAR and ARG compared with CON piglets. These results suggest that ARG and CAR supplements were beneficial for muscle maturation whereas findings on phenotypic traits were rather unsystematic.
Tannins have long been considered ‘anti-nutritional’ factors in monogastric nutrition, shown to reduce feed intake and palatability. However, recent studies revealed that compared with condensed tannins, hydrolysable tannins (HT) appear to have far less impact on growth performance, but may be inhibitory to the total activity of caecal bacteria. This in turn could reduce microbial synthesis of skatole and indole in the hindgut of entire male pigs (EM). Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the impact of a group of dietary HT on growth performance, carcass traits and boar taint compounds of group housed EM. For the study, 36 Swiss Large White boars were assigned within litter to three treatment groups. Boars were offered ad libitum one of three finisher diets supplemented with 0 (C), 15 (T15) or 30 g/kg (T30) of HT from day 105 to 165 of age. Growth performance, carcass characteristics, boar taint compounds in the adipose tissue and cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzymes CYP2E1, CYP1A2 and CYP2A19 gene expression in the liver was assessed. Compared with C, feed efficiency but not daily gain and daily feed intake was lower (P<0.05) in T15 and T30 boars. Except for the percentage carcass weight loss during cooling, which tended (P<0.10) to be greater in T30 than C and T15, carcass characteristics were not affected by the diets. In line with the numerically lower androstenone level, bulbourethral and salivary glands of T30 boars were lighter (P<0.05) than of T15 with intermediate values for C. Indole level was lower (P<0.05) in the adipose tissue of T30 than C pigs with intermediate levels in T15. Skatole levels tended (P<0.10) to be lower in T30 and C than T15 pigs. Hepatic gene expression of CYP isoenzymes did not differ between-treatment groups, but was negatively correlated (P<0.05) with androstenone (CYP2E1 and CYP1A2), skatole (CYP2E1, CYP2A) and indole (CYP2A) level. In line with the numerically highest androstenone and skatole concentrations, boar taint odour but not flavour was detected by the panellists in loins from T15 compared with loins from C and T30 boars. These results provide evidence that HT affected metabolism of indolic compounds and androstenone and that they affected the development of accessory sex glands. However, the effects were too small to be detected by sensory evaluation.
The extensive protein degradation occurring during ensiling decreases the nutritive value of silages, but this might be counteracted by tannins. Therefore, silages from two legume species containing condensed tannins (CT) – sainfoin (SF) and birdsfoot trefoil (two cultivars: birdsfoot trefoil, cv. Bull (BTB) and birdsfoot trefoil, cv. Polom) – were compared for their in vitro ruminal fermentation characteristics. The effect of combining them with two CT-free legume silages (lucerne (LU) and red clover (RC)) was also determined. The supply of duodenally utilisable CP (uCP) in the forages was emphasised. The legumes were each harvested from three field sites. After 24 h of wilting on the field, the legumes were ensiled in laboratory silos for 86 days. Proximate constituents, silage fermentation characteristics, CT content and CP fractions were determined. Subsequently, silage samples and 1 : 1 mixtures of the CT-containing and CT-free silages were incubated for 24 h in batch cultures using ruminal fluid and buffer (1 : 2, v/v). Each treatment was replicated six times in six runs. The effects on pH, ammonia and volatile fatty acid concentrations, protozoal counts, and total gas and methane production were determined. uCP content was calculated by considering the CP in the silage and the ammonia in the incubation fluid from treatments and blanks. Statistical evaluation compared data from single plants alone and together with that from the mixtures. Among treatments, SF silage contained the least CP and the most CT. The non-protein nitrogen content was lower, favouring neutral detergent soluble and insoluble protein fractions, in the SF and RC silages. Absolute uCP content was lowest in SF and SF mixtures, although the ratio to total CP was the highest. In comparison with LU, the ammonia concentration of the incubation fluid was lower for SF, RC and BTB and for the mixture of SF with LU. The total gas and methane production was similar among the treatments, and the total volatile fatty acid production was decreased with the CT-containing legumes. Protozoal count was increased with the mixtures containing LU and either SF or BTB compared with single LU. In conclusion, compared with the other legumes, SF and RC have similar advantages as they show limited proteolysis during ensiling. In addition, SF supplies more uCP relative to total CP. The CT-containing legumes also differed in their effect on ruminal fermentation and ammonia formation, probably because of their different CT contents. Thus, SF and its mixtures appear promising for improving the protein utilisation of ruminants.
Breeding leaner pigs during the last decades may have changed pig’s empty body (EB) composition, a key trait for elaborating feeding recommendations. This research aimed to provide new experimental data on changes in the chemical composition of the EB of pigs from 20 to 140 kg BW. In addition, the impact of a reduction in the dietary CP associated with lower lysine, methionine+cystine, threonine and tryptophan levels was determined. In total, 48 males, castrates and females weighing 20 kg BW were allocated either to a control grower–finisher diet formulated according to current Swiss feeding recommendations, or a low CP grower–finisher diet (80% of control). Feed intake was monitored and pigs were weighed weekly. The chemical composition of EB (blood, hairs and hoofs, offals, bile, carcass) was determined at 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120 and 140 kg BW on four pigs per gender and diet (eight pigs per gender at 20 kg). The five fractions were weighed and samples were analysed for dry matter, protein, fat and energy. Nutrient deposition rates and N efficiency were calculated by using the 20 kg BW category as reference. Analysis revealed an accurate feed optimisation for the aforementioned essential amino acids (EAA), whereas digestible isoleucine content in the low CP diet was at 70% of the control diet. Despite similar feed intake, daily gain and feed efficiency were impaired (P<0.01) from 20 to 100 kg BW in the low CP compared with the control pigs. In the same growth period, castrates had the greatest feed intake but, together with females, displayed the lowest (P<0.01) feed efficiency. Protein deposition was reduced (P<0.01) by up to 31% with low CP diet and was lower (P<0.01) in castrates and females than males at 100 kg BW. The greatest fat deposition rates were found with low CP diet and castrates. N efficiency improved (P<0.05) by 10% with the low CP diet from 100 to 140 kg. The males displayed the greatest (P<0.05) N efficiency. These findings suggest that the CP content of finisher II diets could be reduced to 102, 102 and 104 g/kg for females, castrates and males, respectively, without a negative impact on protein deposition or growth. It remains unclear whether the negative effects found in the BW range from 20 to 100 kg on the EB deposition were due to the 20% reduction of the dietary CP and the five limiting EAA or to other EAA via an unbalanced EAA profile.
In this study, we investigated the effects of maternal gestation and/or lactation diets supplemented with extruded linseed (rich in 18:3n-3) on growth performance and long-chain polyunsaturated faaty acid (PUFA) accumulation in muscle tissues of suckling lambs. A total of 36 dairy ewes were fed a control diet (CON) and a diet containing linseed (LIN) during the last 8 weeks of gestation and/or the first 4 weeks of lactation. The four dietary treatments consisted of the following gestation/lactation feeding treatments: CON/CON, CON/LIN, LIN/LIN or LIN/CON. The lambs born from ewes fed the aforementioned diets were reared exclusively on milk and were slaughtered at 4 weeks of age. Profiles of ewes’ milk fatty acids and that of intramuscular fat (IMF) of leg muscles from lambs were determined. Compared with the CON/CON, LIN/CON offspring tended to grow slower and to have reduced cold carcass weights. Moreover, the LIN supplementation only in the prepartum period (LIN/CON) resulted in greater PUFAn-3 accumulation in the IMF compared with the CON/CON offspring due to increased 20:5n-3 (1.20 v. 0.64 mg/100 mg of total FA), 22:5n-3 (1.91 v. 1.46;) and 22:6n-3 (1.25 v. 0.89) contents, respectively. Compared with the CON/CON diet, providing LIN only during lactation (CON/LIN) caused a greater PUFAn-3 content in the IMF mainly due to a greater 18:3n-3 (1.79 v. 0.75 mg/100 g total FA) concentration. Continuous PUFAn-3 exposure, both via the maternal gestation and lactation diet, had no additive effects on PUFAn-3 accumulation in tissues. The results suggest that linseed, as an 18:3n-3 source, seems to be more efficient in increasing long-chain PUFAn-3 in fetal than in suckling lamb tissues.
The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the compensatory growth feeding strategy could be a suitable solution for overcoming the negative effects on growth, carcass composition and meat quality of low birth weight pigs. Forty-two Swiss Large White barrows from 21 litters were selected at weaning and categorized into either being light (L; >0.8 and <1.3 kg) or heavy (H; >1.7 kg) birth weight pigs. From 27.8 kg BW, pigs were assigned within birth weight group to one of three feeding groups: AA: ad libitum access to the grower and finisher diet, RR: restricted access to the grower and finisher diet or RA: restricted access to the grower diet and ad libitum access to the finisher diet. At slaughter, the longissimus (LM) and semitendinosus (STM) muscles were removed from the right side of the carcass. Weight, girth and length of the STM and the LM area were determined after muscle excision. Carcass characteristics and meat quality traits were assessed. Using mATPase histochemistry, myofibre size and myofibre type distribution were determined in the LM and STM. Because of longer days on feed, total feed intake was greater (P<0.01) and feed efficiency was lower (P<0.01) in L than H barrows. Regardless of the birth weight group, AA and RA barrows grew faster (P<0.05) than RR barrows. During the compensatory growth period, RA barrows grew faster (P<0.05) than AA or RR barrows. Growth efficiency did not differ between RA and RR barrows but was greater (P<0.05) compared with AA barrows. Carcasses of L barrows were fatter as indicated by the lower (P⩽≤0.05) lean meat and greater (P⩽0.02) omental and subcutaneous fat percentage. Lean meat percentage was lower (P⩽0.05) in AA and RA than RR barrows. These differences caused by ad libitum feed access tended to be greater (feeding regime × birth weight group interaction; P<0.08) in L than H barrows. In L barrows, slow oxidative, fast oxidative glycolytic and overall average myofibre size of the LM and the fast glycolytic myofibres and overall average myofibre size of the dark portion of the STM were larger (P⩽0.03) than in H barrows. The study revealed that the compensatory growth feeding strategy was inadequate in overcoming the disadvantages of low birth weight.
Nutrition is a well-known factor in the growth, health and development of children. It is also acknowledged that worldwide many people have dietary imbalances resulting in over- or undernutrition. In 2009, the multinational food company FrieslandCampina initiated the South East Asian Nutrition Survey (SEANUTS), a combination of surveys carried out in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, to get a better insight into these imbalances. The present study describes the general study design and methodology, as well as some problems and pitfalls encountered. In each of these countries, participants in the age range of 0·5–12 years were recruited according to a multistage cluster randomised or stratified random sampling methodology. Field teams took care of recruitment and data collection. For the health status of children, growth and body composition, physical activity, bone density, and development and cognition were measured. For nutrition, food intake and food habits were assessed by questionnaires, whereas in subpopulations blood and urine samples were collected to measure the biochemical status parameters of Fe, vitamins A and D, and DHA. In Thailand, the researchers additionally studied the lipid profile in blood, whereas in Indonesia iodine excretion in urine was analysed. Biochemical data were analysed in certified laboratories. Study protocols and methodology were aligned where practically possible. In December 2011, data collection was finalised. In total, 16 744 children participated in the present study. Information that will be very relevant for formulating nutritional health policies, as well as for designing innovative food and nutrition research and development programmes, has become available.
Offspring born from normal litter size (10 to 15 piglets) but classified as having lower than average birth weight (average of the sow herd used: 1.46 ± 0.2 kg; mean ± s.d.) carry at birth negative phenotypic traits normally associated with intrauterine growth restriction, such as brain-sparing and impaired myofiber hyperplasia. The objective of the study was to assess long-term effects of intrauterine crowding by comparing postnatal performance, carcass characteristics and pork quality of offspring born from litters with higher (>1.7 kg) or lower (<1.3 kg) than average litter birth weight. From a population of multiparous Swiss Large White sows (parity 2 to 6), 16 litters with high (H = 1.75 kg) or low (L = 1.26 kg) average litter birth weight were selected. At farrowing, two female pigs and two castrated pigs were chosen from each litter: from the H-litters those with the intermediate (HI = 1.79 kg) and lowest (HL = 1.40 kg) birth weight, and from L-litters those with the highest (LH = 1.49 kg) and intermediate (LI = 1.26 kg) birth weight. Average birth weight of the selected HI and LI piglets differed (P < 0.05), whereas birth weight of the HL- and LH-piglets were similar (P > 0.05). These pigs were fattened in group pen and slaughtered at 165 days of age. Pre-weaning performance of the litters and growth performance, carcass and meat quality traits of the selected pigs were assessed. Number of stillborn and pig mortality were greater (P < 0.05) in L- than in H-litters. Consequently, fewer (P < 0.05) piglets were weaned and average litter weaning weight decreased by 38% (P < 0.05). The selected pigs of the L-litters displayed catch-up growth during the starter and grower–finisher periods, leading to similar (P > 0.05) slaughter weight at 165 days of age. However, HL-gilts were more feed efficient and had leaner carcasses than HI-, LH- and LI-pigs (birth weight class × gender interaction P < 0.05). Meat quality traits were mostly similar between groups. The marked between-litter birth weight variation observed in normal size litters had therefore no evident negative impact on growth potential and quality of pigs from the lower birth weight group.
Genetically reducing boar taint using low-taint lines is considered the most sustainable and economic long-term alternative to surgical castration of male pigs. Owing to the high heritability of the main boar taint components (androstenone, skatole and indole), breeding is an excellent tool for reducing the number of tainted carcasses. To incorporate boar taint into breeding programmes, standardized performance testing is required. The objective of this study was to develop and formally present a performance test for the main boar taint compounds on live breeding candidates. First, a standardized performance test for boar taint was established. A biopsy device was developed to extract small tissue samples (200 to 300 mg) from breeding candidates. Quantification of boar taint components from these small samples using specialized chemical extraction methods proved accurate and repeatable (r = 0.938). Following establishment of the method, biopsy samples of 516 live boars (100 to 130 kg live weight) were collected in the second step. Various mixed linear models were tested for each boar taint compound; models were ranked in terms of their information content. Pedigree information of 2245 ancestors of biopsied animals was included, and genetic parameters were estimated using univariate and multivariate models. Androstenone (in μg/g liquid fat (LF): mean = 0.578, σ = 0.527), skatole (in μg/g LF: mean = 0.033, σ = 0.002) and indole (in μg/g LF: mean = 0.032, σ = 0.002) levels obtained by biopsy were plausible. Heritability estimates for androstenone calculated with univariate (0.453) and multivariate (0.452) analyses were comparable to those in the literature. Heritabilities for skatole (0.495) and indole (0.550) were higher than that for androstenone. Genetic and phenotypic correlations were similar to those published previously. Our results show that data on boar taint compounds from small adipose samples obtained by biopsy provide similar genetic parameters as that described in the literature for larger samples and are therefore a reliable performance test for boar taint in live breeding candidates.
There are indications that intrauterine crowding may cause intrauterine growth retardation with the possibility of an impaired myofiber hyperplasia. The aim of the study was to confirm this by generating large differences in uterine space using sows that were unilaterally hysterectomized-ovariectomized (HO; crowded) or unilaterally oviduct ligated (OL; non-crowded). In the study, seven HO and seven OL Swiss Large White third parity sows were used. At farrowing, litter size and litter birth weight were determined. Subsequently, within each litter two male and two female progenies each with the respectively lowest (L) and highest (H) birth weight were sacrificed. Internal organs and brain were weighed, and longissimus (LM) and semitendinosus muscle (SM) samples were collected. Histological analyses were performed in both muscles using mATPase staining after preincubation at pH 4.3 and 10.2. Myosin heavy chain (MyHC) polymorphism was determined in the LM by means of SDS-PAGE. The number of piglets born alive was similar in both sow groups, but litter size expressed per uterine horn was lower (P < 0.05) in OL than HO sows. Consequently, OL progeny were markedly heavier (P < 0.01). Regardless of gender, the organs, the brain and the SM were heavier (P < 0.001) in OL and H compared with HO and L offspring, respectively. Compared with HO pigs, the SM of OL offspring tended (P < 0.1) to have more myofibers, which were of larger (P < 0.05) size. However, myofiber density appeared to be lower (P < 0.1) in the SM of OL than HO pigs. The impact of birth weight on myofiber characteristics was limited to the lower (P < 0.05) myofiber density in the SM and the larger (P < 0.01) myofiber size in the light portion of the SM of H than L offspring, whereas myofiber hyperplasia did not differ between birth weight categories. The SM, but not the LM, of male offspring had a greater (P < 0.05) myofiber density. This did not affect total SM myofiber number. The relative abundance of fetal and type I MyHC in the LM was lower (P < 0.05) and that of type II MyHC was greater (P < 0.001) in OL than HO pigs. The current data suggest that regardless of birth weight and gender, in the LM and SM of individuals born from a crowded environment, not only hyperplasia but also hypertrophy of myofibers is impaired and their maturity seems delayed.
The effects of l-arginine on porcine foetal development and myogenesis were determined. Twenty Swiss Large White gilts were randomly allocated to either the control (C) or l-arginine treatment (A). In addition to the standard gestation diet, A-sows received 26 g l-arginine daily from days 14 to 28 of gestation. At day 75 of pregnancy, sows were sacrificed and the number and weight of foetuses were recorded. From each litter, the lightest, heaviest and the ones with an average foetal weight (FtW) were selected. Primary (P), secondary (S) and total myofiber number as well as S/P ratio were determined in the semitendinosus (ST) and rhomboideus (RH) muscles. In A-sows, the number of viable foetuses (13.0 v. 9.3) and total FtW (4925 v. 3729 g) was greater (P ⩽ 0.04) than in C-sows. Compared to C-sow foetuses, the ST of A-sow foetuses had 7% more (17 699 v. 16 477; P = 0.04) P myofibers and the S/P ratio in both muscles was lower (ST = 20.3 v. 21.5; RH = 24.1 v. 27.1; P ⩽ 0.07). Regardless of the maternal diet, the S myofiber number and the S/P ratio in both muscles were greater (P ⩽ 0.01) in foetuses with a high FtW compared to low FtW. These data suggest that l-arginine supplemented to gilts during early gestation enhanced foetal survival and in the ST positively affected the primary phase of myofiber formation.
The objective of the study was to compare growth performance, carcass characteristics, meat quality and fatty acid composition of the adipose tissue of group-penned barrows, immunocastrated boars and entire males. Furthermore, the effect of housing of entire males on the aforementioned parameters was evaluated. At 55.2 days of age, 52 Swiss Large White pigs were blocked by litter and assigned by BW to four experimental groups: barrows (C), immunocastrated boars (IC), entire males (EMG) reared in group pens and entire males (EMP) reared in individual pens. In experiment 1, the effects of the method of castration were investigated (experimental groups C, IC and EMG). In experiment 2, the effects of housing on entire male pigs were evaluated (experimental groups EMG and EMP). All pigs had ad libitum access to standard diets from weaning to 107 kg BW. The two vaccinations (Improvac®) were applied to the IC pigs at an average BW of 22.6 and 73.0 kg. In experiment 1, average daily gain (ADG) did not (P > 0.05) differ among the experimental groups. However, EMG consumed less feed and had a better feed-conversion ratio than C (P < 0.001 for each). For IC, intermediate values were observed, which differed (P < 0.001) from EMG and C. Lean meat percentage decreased (P < 0.05) from EMG to IC, and from IC to C. The androstenone and skatole levels were higher (P < 0.05) in the adipose tissue of EMG than IC and C. Shear force values were higher (P < 0.01) in the longissimus muscle of C and EMG, compared to IC. The concentration of saturated fatty acid in the adipose tissue increased (P < 0.001) from EMG to IC, and from IC to C pigs, and that of polyunsaturated fatty acid decreased (P < 0.001). In experiment 2, ADG did not (P > 0.05) differ between EMP and EMG. However, EMP pigs consumed more feed than EMG pigs and had a poorer feed efficiency (P < 0.01 for each). In conclusion, EMG pigs had a better feed efficiency than IC pigs and their carcasses were leaner, but the risk of boar tainted pork was elevated. Group-housing negatively affected average daily feed intake but not ADG of entire males. At the moment, immunocastration offers a good approach to avoid castration and minimize the risk of boar taint.
The recognition of the protein-concentrated and highly digestible character of young leafy pasturage has led to proposals for conserving such herbage by artificial drying for feeding to farm animals during winter as a substitute for oil cakes. Before contemplating the adoption of such proposals on a commercial scale, however, it was necessary to demonstrate that young pasturage could be dried artificially without losing its highly digestible nature.
That this is possible is clear from the results brought forward in this communication. It has been shown that young grass does not suffer any depression in respect of digestibility when it is dried (a) at the temperature of steam, or (b) by direct heat in a kiln.
In Europe there is increasing concern about the common practice of surgical castration of piglets without anaesthesia. One possible alternative to completely avoid castration is entire male pig production. Thus, the objective of the study was to compare the growth performance, carcass characteristics, organ weights, meat quality traits, fat score and boar taint compounds in the adipose tissue of group-penned entire male pigs and castrates. Furthermore, the effect of raw potato starch (RPS) fed for 7 days prior to slaughter was determined. Pigs (n = 36) were blocked by BW into 12 blocks (3 littermates/block) and assigned to three experimental groups: surgical castrates (C); entire males (EM); and entire males offered RPS (30 g RPS/100 g diet) for 7 days prior to slaughter (EM+). Pigs had ad libitum access to the feed from 22 to 107 kg, individual feed intake was recorded daily and BW once a week. Entire males grew slower (EM: 771, EM+: 776 v. C: 830 g/day; P < 0.01), consumed less feed (EM: 1.87, EM+: 1.89 v. C: 2.23 kg/day; P < 0.01) and were more efficient (feed conversion ratio: EM: 2.42, EM+: 2.44 v. C: 2.69 kg/kg; P < 0.01) than C. Compared to C, carcass dressing percentage was lower (EM: 79.4, EM+: 79.4 v. C: 81.6%; P < 0.01) and percentage of valuable cuts was higher (EM: 57.3, EM+: 56.5 v. 52.6%; P < 0.01) in entire males. The hearts (EM: 426, EM+: 425 v. C: 378 g), kidneys (EM: 387, EM+: 378 v. C: 311 g), bulbourethral (EM: 200, EM+: 195 v. C: 7 g) and salivary glands (EM: 99, EM+: 94 v. C: 42 g) were heavier (P < 0.001) in entire males than in C. Meat quality traits did not (P > 0.05) differ among experimental groups but the adipose tissue was more unsaturated in entire males than in C as indicated by the higher fat scores (EM: 69.1, EM+: 67.2 v. C: 63.6; P < 0.01). Feeding RPS reduced (P = 0.04) the skatole tissue concentrations (expressed in μg/g lipid) in EM+ (0.22) compared to EM (0.85), whereas androstenone and indole levels were not (P ⩾ 0.60) affected (EM: 1.7 and 0.10, EM+: 2.0 and 0.09, respectively). Although the current results confirmed the high efficiency of entire males compared to castrates, the observed high androstenone levels represent a major challenge to implement entire males production.
Dietary linseed supply efficiently elevates the linolenic acid concentration of pork. The main problem of increasing the n-3 fatty acid tissue levels arises from a higher susceptibility to lipid oxidation. Increasing the saturation level of tissue lipids by the dietary inclusion of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) or tallow might prevent oxidation. Thus, the aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of dietary CLA or tallow supplementation combined with extruded linseed on the growth performance, carcass characteristics and fatty acid profile of muscles (longissimus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris) and subcutaneous fat (SF). The enzyme activity of the de novo lipogenesis and stearoyl-CoA desaturase in the SF was also assessed. From 18 to 104 kg BW, 32 Swiss Large White barrows were fed a diet supplemented with either: (1) 2% linseed (L2); (2) 3% linseed (L3); (3) 2% linseed + 1% CLA (L2-C) or (4) 2% linseed + 1% tallow (L2-T). The linolenic and eicosatrienoic acid concentrations were higher (P < 0.01) and the ∑n-6/∑n-3 ratio was lower (P < 0.01) in all tissues of L3 than L2 and L2-T barrows. Only in the SF the docosapentaenoic acid concentration was increased (P < 0.01) in L3 barrows. Compared with the other three diets, feeding the L2-C diets increased (P < 0.01) the amount of myristic, palmitic, stearic and palmitoleic acid at the expense of the oleic and eicosenoic acid content in the intramuscular and SF lipids. Except for the lower (P < 0.05) eicosadienoic acid concentration in the muscles, feeding the L2-C treatment resulted in similar polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations and ∑n-6/∑n-3 ratio than feeding L2 or L2-T diets. Both the c9,t11- and t10,c12-CLA isomers found in the CLA-supplemented diet were also detected in the tissues, but the c9,t11-isomer was more abundant than the t10,c12-isomer. De novo lipogenesis was not (P > 0.05) affected by the dietary fats, whereas Δ9-desaturase activity was depressed (P < 0.05) by CLA inclusion (L2-C). Only when oxidation was challenged by cooking and subsequent storage for 4 days at 4°C values of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances were lower (P < 0.05) in longissimus muscle chops of L2-C compared with L2, L3 and L2-T barrows. The present findings revealed that CLA, but not tallow, combined with extruded linseed enhanced the oxidative stability of pork probably by lowering the degree of unsaturation of the lipids without affecting the improved ∑n-6/∑n-3 ratio.