Effect of coarse ground corn, sugar beet pulp and wheat bran on the voluntary intake and physicochemical characteristics of digesta of growing pigs

M. Anguita, J. Gasa, M. Nofrarias, S. M. Martín-Orúe, J. F. Pérez

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The aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of a coarse ground cereal and two fibrous ingredients incorporated in the diet on the physicochemical properties of digesta and productive parameters of pigs during the first stage of the growing period. A total of 96 pigs (initial body weight, BW, 15 kg) were distributed into four experimental treatments: the control diet (CT) consisted of corn, barley and soybean meal milled to pass through a 2.5 mm screen; the coarse corn diet (CC) was prepared by milling the corn to a coarser particle size (4.0 mm screen); the sugar beet pulp diet (SBP) and the wheat bran diet (WB) were prepared by replacing some of the corn for sugar beet pulp (80 g/kg) or wheat bran (100 g/kg) respectively, in order to contain a higher amount of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). Three experimental periods were considered (7, 21 and 42 days) during which body weight (BW) and voluntary feed intake were assessed. At the end of each period eight animals per diet were slaughtered. Weight of the gastrointestinal tract and its compartments (full and empty) was recorded and the contents were sampled. Digesta samples were analysed for water concentration, water retention capacity (WRC), ammonia and short-chain fatty acids concentration (SCFA). Histological study of the proximal colon tissues was also performed. In general, the different parameters evaluated showed differences between the experimental periods, but few interactions were recorded. Animals fed CC, SBP and WB diets presented a lower feed intake (P ≤ 0.009) compared to CT fed animals. Compared to the control diet, coarse grinding of corn provoked an increase in the colonic digesta content (P = 0.032). Similarly, animals fed the SBP diet compared to CT animals, showed an increase in the contents (P = 0.009) of hindgut, and in the concentration of water in the digesta (P ≤ 0.011). Compared to CT diet the SBP diet lowered the ammonia concentration in the hindgut contents (P ≤ 0.045) and increased the concentration of SCFA in the distal colon (P ≤ 0.025). Animals fed the SBP diet also showed a lower number of lymphoid nodes in the colonic mucosa compared to the other diets (P ≤ 0.043). Minor modifications were observed associated with the incorporation of wheat bran in the diet, but colonic water from WB fed animals showed a tendency to increase cytolytic capacity. The results confirm major changes in the voluntary intake and physicochemical properties of digesta as affected by the incorporation in the diet of a fibrous ingredient or coarse grinding of cereals. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-191
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


  • Cytolysis
  • Dietary fibre
  • Growing pigs
  • Physicochemical properties


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