Amino acid nutrition for growth and health of neonatal pigs



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Raising healthy and fast-growing neonatal pigs improve overall productivity of swine production. High-lean type neonatal pigs have a large body size and a healthy body to resist disease but are fed with a low- protein diet. Providing required profiles of amino acids in a well-designed diet to neonatal pigs will allow more efficient swine production and decrease morbidity, mortality, feed cost, and nitrogen excretion. The main concern in sow-reared neonatal pigs is that less energy is provided by sows for piglet growth compared with artificially reared piglets. The nutrients from sow¡¦s colostrum and milk may not be able to provide maximum growth for neonatal pigs. Therefore, understanding the digestibility of dietary nutrients and the mechanism for regulating their utilization in neonatal pigs is crucial for improving the growth performance and health of the animals. This thesis covers: 1) determining the digestibility of nutrients in colostrum by neonatal pigs; and 2) the usefulness of N-carbamoylglutamate (NCG) as a dietary additive for neonatal pigs.

In the first study, 12, 1-d-old male piglets were selected from three litters (four per litter) and housed individually in metabolism crates. All piglets were fed colostrum containing 0.25% chromium oxide as an external marker based on the following feeding program: 6 meals per day for an entire 3-d period, with 40 mL/meal for d 1 (240 mL/d), 55 mL/meal for d 2 (330 mL/d), and 70 mL/meal for d 3 (420 mL/d). Excreted feces and blood samples were collected for chemical analysis and immunoglobulin (Ig) G analysis, respectively. The apparent digestibility of protein, DM, and total amino acids in colostrum was calculated. Protein-bound and free amino acids in sow's colostrum were highly digestible (98.3 „b 0.1%) by neonatal pigs.

In the second study, 27, 7-d old piglets were weaned from sows and assigned randomly to 3 dietary treatments; 1) the positive control dietary treatment (CON) containing 66.8% whey protein concentrate without N-carbamoylglutamate (NCG) and glutamic acid providing 26% CP; 2) additional NCG supplementation (NCGS) containing 56.8% whey protein concentrate with 0.08% NCG and 3.83% glutamic acid providing 25% CP; and 3) with additional glutamic acid (GLU) containing 56.8% whey protein concentrate with 3.91% glutamic acid providing 25% CP. Fresh liquid milk replacer was provided daily to piglets. Body weights of piglets were recorded and jugular venous blood samples were collected at d 7, 14, and 21 of age. Dietary of NCG supplementation might have effect on the growth performance of neonatal pigs by elevating concentrations of essential amino acids. Adding NCG and/or glutamic acid supplementation might reduce the usage of protein in the diet. However, further research is needed with regard to increasing the sample size in order to have a "true" negative control.