Compensatory gain describes an accelerated growth seen in animals following a period of nutrient restriction. Methionine (Met) is the second limiting amino acid in typical swine diets and is essential for muscle growth. This study was conducted to determine (1) if a Met-deficient diet can cause growth retardation in growing pigs, (2) if returning to a normal feeding can yield compensatory gain in the pigs previously fed the Met-deficient diet, and (3) if this Met-deficiency followed by the normal feeding program affects carcass characteristics. Twenty individually-penned crossbred young barrows were randomly allotted to two dietary treatments (n = 10). One Met-deficient (D1) and one Met-adequate (D2) diets were formulated based on corn and soybean meal and fed to respective pigs for 31 days. After that, all pigs were fed the same commercial grower-finisher diet until market weight (around 125 kg), then slaughtered, and carcass characteristics measured. The D1 and D2 pigs began with similar body weights (23.5 vs. 23.6 kg; P = 0.935), but after 31-days on the dietary treatments, D1 pigs were lighter than D2 pigs (51.6 vs. 55.0 kg; P = 0.102). After feeding the normal diet for 55 days, D1 and D2 pigs had similar body weights (122.7 vs. 122.6 kg; P = 0.989). In terms of carcass characteristics, however, D1 pigs had thicker back-fat (at 10th rib; 2.95 vs. 2.51 cm; P = 0.015), heavier belly weight (11.0 vs. 9.6 kg; P = 0.005), lighter ham weights (untrimmed: 20.8 vs. 21.6 kg; P = 0.043; trimmed: 19.6 vs. 20.6 kg; P = 0.016), lighter picnic shoulder weight (8.72 vs. 9.80 kg; P = 0.041), lighter total lean cut weight (51.8 vs. 53.8 kg; P = 0.055), and lower lean cut percentage (56.4 vs. 59.0%; P = 0.012). These results indicate that the Met-deficient diet produced growth-retarded pigs, which showed compensatory gain after the normal feeding. At slaughter, the pigs previously fed the Met-deficient diet had more fat and less lean tissue than their non-deficient counterparts.
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