Lowering protein level in diets for piglets urge to have knowledge on the piglet's requirements for essential amino acids (AA) and their interactions. The present studies aimed to determine the interaction between the dietary level of valine (Val) and tryptophan (Trp) and the effect of AA imbalance at two levels of dietary Val on the growth performance of post-weaning piglets. In Experiment 1 (duration 4 weeks), the effects of supplementation of free l-Val (1.0 g/kg) and/or l-Trp (0.5 g/kg) in a low-CP diet (CP 17.7%), marginal in Trp and Val, was studied in a 2×2 factorial design and using an additional reference treatment (CP 19.5%). In Experiment 2 (duration 5 weeks), the influence of a stepwise increase in excess supply of isoleucine (Ile), histidine (His) and leucine (Leu), up to 10, 10% and 30% relative to their requirement values respectively, was evaluated at 60% or 70% standardized ileal digestible (SID) Val relative to SID lysine, using a 3×2 factorial design. In Experiment 1, over the whole experimental period, feed intake (FI) was affected by dietary Trp level (P<0.05) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) by both the level of Trp and Val in the diet (both P<0.05). Increasing Trp level increased FI and decreased FCR while increasing dietary Val level reduced FI and increased FCR. For BW gain (BWG), there was an interaction between dietary level of Trp and Val (P<0.05). Valine supplementation decreased BWG using a diet marginal in Trp, whereas it increased BWG when using a Trp sufficient diet. Piglets fed the low-CP diet with adequate levels of Val and Trp showed at least same performance compared to piglets fed the high CP reference diet. In Experiment 2, increasing dietary Val improved FI and BWG (P<0.001) and tended to improve FCR. Dietary AA excess for Ile, His and Leu reduced FI and BWG (P<0.05) and only affected FCR (P<0.01) in the 1st week of the study. Dietary level of Val and AA excess did not show interactive effects, except for FCR over the final 2 weeks of the study (P<0.05). In conclusion, an interaction exists between dietary supply of Val and Trp on the zootechnical performance of post-weaning piglets and dietary AA excess for Ile, Leu and His, reduces growth performance of piglets in low-protein diets, independent of the dietary level of Val.
- branched-chain amino acids
- low-protein diets