Farmscape for December 7, 2022
Research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc indicates, in addition to influencing growth, the inclusion of amino acids in swine rations can influence gut health, gut development and immune function.
In response to tightening restrictions on antibiotics and the drive to reduce their use in livestock production, researchers with the Prairie Swine Centre in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc have been assessing the value of including functional amino acids in swine diets to maintain animal health.
Dr. Dan Columbus, a Research Scientist Nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, says we tend to look at amino acids in terms of their role in growth, specifically lean gain, but many amino acids have important roles beyond growth so it is necessary to examine their effect on things like immune status and gut function.
Clip-Dr. Dan Columbus-Prairie Swine Centre:
We have been able to determine that providing a mix of functional amino acids and in this case that was methionine, threonine and tryptophan at 120 percent of NRC requirements for growth, that they improved growth performance and health status of weaned pigs challenged with salmonella.
However, we also found out there are a number of factors that influence this result.
For instance, providing this mix for a longer period before the disease challenge further enhanced their benefit of the amino acid.
The amino acid mix was not effective in low-birth-weight pigs but it was with normal birth weight.
In another study we were able to show that piglets receiving only plant-based diets in the nursery were more susceptible and had reduced performance and health during disease challenge than those pigs that received animal-based proteins in the nursery diet and our amino acid mix was partially able to mitigate this negative effect.
So, it might be a potential in certain raised without antibiotic situations.
What we still need to determine though is optimal levels and mixes of these amino acids.
For example, we only tested that one particular mix of those three amino acids and at one level.
It would be interesting to know if other amino acids are beneficial or if higher or lower levels of the amino acids are needed and we also are interested in looking at targeted delivery of amino acids.
Dr. Columbus expects these findings to change the way diets are formulated as nutritionists consider the role of these amino acids in animal health.
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*Farmscape is produced on behalf of North America’s pork producers