Performance of pigs kept under different sanitary conditions affected by protein intake and amino acid supplementation

Y. van der Meer*, A. Lammers, A.J.M. Jansman, M.M.J.A. Rijnen, W.H. Hendriks, W.J.J. Gerrits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing evidence that requirements for particular AA increase when pigs are kept under low sanitary conditions. The extent towhich reduction in growth performance is related to these increased requirements is unclear. To evaluate this relationship, an experiment (2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement) was performed with 612 male pigs (9 per pen) kept under low sanitary conditions (LSC) or high sanitary conditions (HSC) and offered ad libitum access to either a normal CP concentration diet (NP; 17, 15, and 15% CP for the starter, grower, and finisher phase, respectively) or a low CP concentration diet (LP; 20% CP reduced relative to NP for each phase), each of which containing a basal AA profile (AA-B) or a supplemented AA profile (AA-S). The supplemented diet type contained 20% more Met, Thr, and Trp relative to Lys on an apparent ileal digestible basis compared with the basal diet type. Pigs were followed for a complete fattening period and slaughtered at a targeted pen weight of 110 kg. Haptoglobin concentrations in serum (0.92 g/L for LSC and 0.78 g/L for HSC) and IgG antibody titers against keyhole limpet hemocyanin (3.53 for LSC and 3.08 for HSC) collected in the starter, grower, and finisher phases and pleuritis scores at slaughter (0.51 for LSC and 0.20 for HSC) were greater for LSC pigs compared with HSC pigs (P ≤ 0.01), illustrating that sanitary conditions affected health conditions. The ADG and G:F were greater for HSC pigs compared with LSC pigs (P ≤ 0.01). The number of white blood cells (WBC) was higher in (AA-S)–fed pigs compared with (AA-B)–fed pigs when kept at LSC but not at HSC [SS (sanitary conditions) × AA interaction, P = 0.04]. Pigs fed NP had a lower number of WBC compared with pigs fed LP (P = 0.02). The number of platelets in pigs fed AA-S diets was higher compared with pigs fed AA-B diets (P ≤ 0.01). A 20% reduction in dietary supplementation of Met, Thr, and Trp relative to Lys decreased G:F more in LSC pigs than in HSC pigs (interaction, P = 0.03), illustrating that dietary requirements for these AA differ depending on sanitary conditions. This study, performed under practical conditions, shows that AA requirements are dependent on sanitary conditions. Furthermore, supplementation of diets with particular AA may improve performance, especially under poor hygienic conditions. Dietary protein concentration as well as Met, Thr, and Trp supplementation can modify immune status, which may influence resistance to sub-clinical and clinical diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4704-4719
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Amino acid
  • Immune system
  • Performance
  • Pig
  • Protein
  • Sanitary conditions

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