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New research investigates benefits of functional amino acids in pig diets

Scientists working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc are investigating the value of using functional amino acids to improve gut health and increase the productivity and profitability of swine.

26 March 2020, at 9:21am

The University of Saskatchewan and the Prairie Swine Centre in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc are evaluating the inclusion of elevated levels of amino acids in the diets of weaned pigs to improve their ability to cope with disease.

piglet eating feed

In an interview with Farmscape, Lucas Rodrigues, A PhD student with the University of Saskatchewan and the Prairie Swine Centre, says this work looks at Methionine, Threonine and Tryptophan, three commercially available amino acids that have been used in the swine industry for years.

"Our particular study is investigating the effects of protein and functional amino acid levels supplemented to pigs inoculated with salmonella," says Rodrigues.

"Basically our main objective is to check if these amino acids supplemented above the current requirements for growth, if they will increase the ability of these pigs to cope with these enteric pathogens being salmonella.

"For many years nutritionists only discussed amino acids as building blocks for protein deposition, so if you asked this question years ago probably one would say that we feed amino acids to increase muscle deposition and therefore produce more meat.

"However, especially during recent years, different amino acids have been regarded as functional.

"Research has clearly shown their known proteinogenic lactate effects including helping metabolism regulation, immunity and reproduction.

"So basically, we don't include amino acids in diets only to build muscle but to help the organism to function properly."

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Rodrigues says scientists are looking at the influence of these amino acids on gut health, growth potential and other indicators of the health status of the pig.