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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Grain Quality and Structure Research » Research » Research Project #438951

Research Project: Effect of Sorghum on Reducing Stress Feeding Behavior, Inflammation and Improve Swine Muscle Composition

Location: Grain Quality and Structure Research

Project Number: 3020-43440-002-023-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

The objectives of this project are to evaluate how sorghum as feed can 1) reduce stress related feeding behaviors; 2) reduce endotoxin-induced inflammation; and 3) improve body fat to lean muscle composition in pigs.

to meet the objectives of this project, the following research projects will be conducted. For objective 1, research will be conducted via a pilot study to determine the effects of sorghum grain on stress-related behaviors and endotoxin-induced inflammation in overweight-pigs’ brains after sudden diet restriction. For this study, pigs will randomly be assigned to a sorghum or corn-based diet. Pigs will be fed ad libitum until they reach maturity and are 1.5 times the recommended weight of an adult minipig. Every two weeks, body composition will be measured, and blood will be collected. Blood will be measured for cortisol, and standard clinical hematological and chemistry panels. Behavior will be continuously tracked using deep machine learning visual tracking system. Corn and sorghum samples used in this study will be characterized for composition. To meet objective 2, a commercial pig study to determine the dose effects of sorghum on behavior, incidences of sickness and mortality, and body fat composition will be conducted. A large cohort of commercially raised pigs will be placed on one of four treatments of varying in sorghum content at weaning. Pigs will be fed ad libitum until they reach 66% of market weight. Then, they will be restricted to three meals a day to slow the rate of weight gain. Behavior will be tracked for the entire period. Every month, pigs will be weighed, body fat composition measured, and a subsample will have blood drawn for hematological and chemistry panels. Pigs will be group housed and after they reach the finishing stage, individual temperament will be assessed as for Objective 1. After harvesting, carcasses will be evaluated and meat fat composition will be measured. Changes in behavior, feed metrics and meat quality will be related to sorghum composition in the diet as it varied across the treatments. Objective 3 will determine how the sorghum diet and sorghum grain composition will mitigate stress-related behaviors and inflammation in sexually mature, intact minipigs. For this project, a Smartpen system will be used that allows for group housing and controls feeding. Cognitive behavioral tests will be included in addition to the continuous behavior collection from NuTrack. This study will show if sexual dimorphism differences in behavior and inflammation in pigs fed an optimum level of sorghum to reduce stress related behaviors after diet restriction exists.