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Physicochemical properties and nutritional quality of raw cereals for newly weaned piglets

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2008

G. A. White
Division of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK
F. J. Doucet
Division of Food Sciences, School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK
S. E. Hill*
Division of Food Sciences, School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK
J. Wiseman
Division of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK
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The digestibility of the starch component of raw cereals in newly weaned piglets is highly variable. Reasons for this must be elucidated if the most suitable cereals are to be used. A novel approach was employed, which consisted of assessing the physicochemical properties (rapid visco analysis, water absorption and solubility indices, particle size distribution and in vitro amylolytic digestion) of eight raw cereals contained within piglet diets and subsequently relating this in vitro data to the biological responses of weaned piglets. Trial 1 examined soft and hard wheat, trial 2 – soft wheat, barley, rye and triticale, and trial 3 – soft wheat, naked oats, whole oats and maize. The initial observation was that in vitro testing prior to animal trials is recommended in nutritional evaluation since it indicated fundamental differences between raw cereals, such as for example the levels of endogenous amylase in wheat. Starch and nitrogen digestibility differed between cereals (apparent digestibility coefficients at the 0.5 site of the small intestine ranged from 0.10 to 0.69 for starch and from 0.17 to 0.68 for nitrogen). There is also a probable relationship between the coefficients of ileal apparent starch digestibility, at approximately halfway from the gastric pylorus to the ileocaecal valve, and the presence of endogenous amylase (mean values of 0.53 and 0.62 in trials 2 and 3, respectively, for the higher amylase wheat; 0.38 for the low-amylase wheat used in trial 1). This additional variable (i.e. the unforeseen presence of endogenous amylase) in wheat made it more difficult to draw a firm conclusion about the nutritional suitability of the different cereals. All raw-cereal diets caused atrophy of the villi during the initial week following weaning, but the soft wheat was associated with the highest comparative villi height and might therefore be considered the best of all raw cereals in minimising the post-weaning growth check. For wheat, this might also suggest a possible interaction between villus architecture and endosperm texture in the immediate post-weaning period.

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Copyright © The Animal Consortium 2008

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