Pigs can learn to prefer a flavor if it has been previously associated to positive consequences. The aim of this experiment was to study flavor preferences conditioned by the postingestive effect of nutrients in pigs. In total, 240 weanling piglets were allocated in 24 pens (10 piglets/pen) and distributed to 2 groups of animals (12 pens per group). Pigs in Group 1 (G1) were trained during 8 d with one flavor [positive conditioned stimulus (CS+)] into a protein solution [4% porcine digestible peptides (PDP)] on odd days and another flavor [negative conditioned stimulus (CS-)] into 100 mM of monosodium glutamate (MSG) solution on even days (5-L bottle for 24 h). In the second group of pigs [Group 2 (G2)], CS+ was mixed into a 4% sucrose solution in odd days and CS- into 1% sucrose + 0.08% saccharine on even days. Therefore, treatments were defined as CS+, the flavor associated with PDP or sucrose, on odd days, which were assumed to have a higher postingestive effect than MSG or saccharine + sucrose, the ingredients associated to CS-. Concentration of ingredients in the solutions were chosen to ensure that hedonic attraction for PDP and MSG solutions and for sucrose and saccharine + sucrose were similar (checked in previous double-choice studies). The amount of solution offered during training period was prepared to be totally consumed each day to equalize flavors intake. Flavors (0.0375% anise or garlic) were counterbalanced across replicates to act as CS+ or CS-. Double-choice test between flavors dissolved in water (CS+ and CS-) were performed by selecting 2 pigs/pen on days 1, 6, and 8 after the training period. Solution intake was measured after 30 min. Piglets showed higher intakes for CS+ than CS- in G2 [212 vs. 76 mL and 168 vs. 86 mL (P < 0.05) and 195 vs. 78 mL (P = 0.15)] on days 1, 6, and 8, respectively. Differences between CS+ and CS- consumption were observed in G1 on day 8 (231 vs. 130 mL; P < 0.05). In conclusion, weanling pigs can acquire flavor preferences through associative learning between a flavor and postingestive effects of some nutrients. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2012|