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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Agroecosystems Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #287892

Title: Strategies to improve fiber utilization in swine

item Kerr, Brian
item SHURSON, GERALD - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2013
Publication Date: 5/5/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Kerr, B.J., Shurson, G.C. 2013. Strategies to improve fiber utilization in swine. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. 4(11):1-12.

Interpretive Summary: With pigs being able to utilize moderate levels of fiber in the nursery and finisher period, there is a need to increase digestion of structural carbohydrates, especially in corn-derived co-products. Use of feed processing techniques or exogenous feed additives to improve the nutritional value of corn co-products, particularly dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) which are relatively high in fiber would be of great value to the swine industry. Based on a review of published data as well at the author's own experimentation, exogenous feed additives evaluated have variable and small effects on nutrient digestibility, with little effects on starter and finishing pig growth performance when fed nutritionally adequate corn-soy diets containing 30% DDGS. Research results described in this report provides nutritionists at universities, feed companies, allied industries, and swine production facilities data that to date, no commercially available feed enzyme or probiotic improves nutrient digestibility or pig performance.

Technical Abstract: Application of feed processing methods and use of exogenous feed additives in an effort to improve nutrient digestibility of plant-based feed ingredients for swine has been studied for decades. The following review will discuss several of these topics, including: fiber characterization, impact of dietary fiber on gastrointestinal physiology, energy, and nutrient digestibility, mechanical processing of feed on fiber and energy digestibility, and the use of exogenous enzymes in diets fed to growing pigs. Taken together, the diversity and concentration of chemical characteristics that exists among plant-based feed ingredients, as well as interactions among constituents within feed ingredients and diets, suggests that improvements in nutrient digestibility and pig performance from mechanical processing or adding exogenous enzymes to diets fed to swine depends on a better understanding of these characteristics, but also relating enzyme activity to targeted substrates. It may be that an enzyme must not only match a target substrate(s), but there may also need to be a ‘cocktail’ of enzymes to effectively breakdown the complex matrixes of fibrous carbohydrates, such that the negative impact of these compounds on nutrient digestibility or voluntary feed intake are alleviated. With the inverse relationship between fiber content and energy digestibility being well described for several feed ingredients, it is only logical that development of processing techniques or enzymes that degrade fiber, and thereby improve energy digestibility or voluntary feed intake, will be both metabolically and economically beneficial to pork production.