Low sanitary conditions increase energy expenditure for maintenance and decrease incremental protein efficiency in growing pigs

Y. Van Der Meer, A.J.M. Jansman, W.J.J. Gerrits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Requirements for energy and particular amino acids (AAs) are known to be influenced by the extent of immune system stimulation. Most studies on this topic use models for immune system stimulation mimicking clinical conditions. Extrapolation to conditions of chronic, low-grade immune system stimulation is difficult. We aimed to quantify differences in maintenance energy requirements and efficiency of energy and protein used for growth (incremental energy and protein efficiency) of pigs kept under low (LSC) or high sanitary conditions (HSC) that were fed either a basal diet or a diet with supplemented AA. Twenty-four groups of six 10-week-old female pigs were kept under either LSC or HSC conditions for 2 weeks and fed a diet supplemented or not with 20% extra methionine, threonine and tryptophan. In week 1, feed was available ad libitum. In week 2, feed supply was restricted to 70% of the realized feed intake (kJ/(kg BW)0.6 per day) in week 1. After week 2, fasting heat production (FHP) was measured. Energy balances and incremental energy and protein efficiencies were measured and analyzed using a GLM. Low sanitary condition increased FHP of pigs by 55 kJ/(kg BW)0.6 per day, regardless of diet. Low sanitary condition did not alter the response of faecal energy output to incremental gross energy (GE) intake, but it reduced the incremental response of metabolizable energy intake (12% units), heat production (6% units) and energy retained as protein (6% units) to GE intake, leaving energy retained as fat unaltered. Incremental protein efficiency was reduced in LSC pigs by 20% units. Incremental efficiencies for energy and protein were not affected by dietary AA supplementation. Chronic, low-grade immune stimulation by LSC treatment increases FHP in pigs. Under such conditions, the incremental efficiency of nitrogen utilization for body protein deposition is reduced, but the incremental efficiency of absorbed energy for energy or fat deposition is unaffected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1811-1820
Issue number9
Early online date6 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • amino acids
  • energy metabolism
  • fasting heat
  • health status
  • protein metabolism

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