Pigs Ferment Enzymatically Digestible Starch when it Is Substituted for Resistant Starch

Rik J.J. van Erp*, Sonja de Vries, Theo A.T.G. van Kempen, Walter J.J. Gerrits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Feeding behavior is controlled by satiety mechanisms, which are affected by the extent of starch digestion, and thus resistant starch (RS) intake. Alterations in feeding behavior to changes in RS intake may depend on the adaptation of processes involved when shifting from starch digestion to fermentation or vice versa. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate how growing pigs adapt their feeding behavior in response to increasing and decreasing dietary RS concentrations. METHODS: Thirty-six groups of 6 pigs (25.4 ± 2.8 kg; Hypor Libra × Hypor Maxter; male:female, 1:1) were fed diets containing 50% high-amylose maize starch (high RS; HRS) or waxy maize starch (low RS; LRS). Over 28 d, diets were exchanged following a 5-step titration (25% per step) that was executed in the upward (LH) or downward direction (HL). Twelve groups received a control diet to correct for changes over time. Individual feeding behavior and total tract starch digestion and fermentation were evaluated. The response in each parameter to increasing dietary HRS inclusion was estimated through the use of linear regression procedures, and tested for titration direction and sex effects. RESULTS: Complete substitution of LRS with HRS increased the proportion of starch fermented, which was greater in LH pigs than in HL pigs (17.6% compared with 8.18%; P < 0.001), and decreased the feed intake (106 g/d; P = 0.021) and meal size (12.6 g; P < 0.001) of LH pigs, but not of HL pigs. In LH pigs, the size of the starch fermentation response positively correlated with the size of the feed intake response (r = 0.90, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The attenuated response in starch fermentation in HL pigs indicates that pigs adapt more slowly to dietary supply of digestible starch than to RS, consequently resulting in fermentation of enzymatically digestible starch. Feed intake and feeding behavior only changed in pigs poorly adapting to RS, indicating that adequacy of adaptation, rather than RS itself, drives feed intake. These findings stress the importance of diet history for nutrient digestion and feeding behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1346-1353
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • adaptation
  • feed intake
  • feeding behavior
  • nutrient digestibility
  • resistant starch


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