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Effect of dietary betaine on nutrient utilization and partitioning in the young growing feed-restricted pig

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of dietary betaine over a range of concentrations (between 0 and 0.5%) on growth and body composition in young feed-restricted pigs. Betaine is associated with decreased lipid deposition and altered protein utilization in finishing pigs, and it has been suggested that the positive effects of betaine on growth and carcass composition may be greater in energy-restricted pigs. Thirty-two barrows (36 kg, n = 8 pigs per group) were restrictively fed one of four corn-soybean meal-skim milk based diets (18.6% crude protein, 3.23 Mcal ME/kg) and supplemented with 0, 0.125, 0.25, or 0.5% betaine. Feed allotment was adjusted weekly according to BW, such that average feed intake was approximately 1.7 kg for all groups. At 64 kg, pigs were slaughtered and visceral tissue was removed and weighed. Carcasses were chilled for 24 h to obtain carcass measurements. Subsequently, one-half of each carcass and whole visceral tissue were ground for chemical analysis. Linear regression analysis indicated that, as betaine content of the diet was elevated from 0 to 0.5%, carcass fat concentration (P = 0.06), P3 fat depth (P = 0.14) and viscera weight (P = 0.129) were decreased, whereas total carcass protein (P = 0.124), protein deposition rate (P = 0.98), and lean gain efficiency (P = 0.115) were increased. The greatest differences over control pigs were observed in pigs consuming 0.5% betaine, where carcass fat concentration and P3 fat depth were decreased by 10 and 26%, respectively. Other fat depth measurements were not different (P > 0.15) from those of control pigs. In addition, pigs consuming the highest betaine level had a 19% increase in the carcass protein:fat ratio, 23% higher carcass protein deposition rate, and a 24% increase in lean gain efficiency compared with controls. Dietary betaine had no effects (P > 0.15) on growth performance, visceral tissue chemical composition, carcass fat deposition rate, visceral fat and protein deposition rates, or serum urea and ammonia concentrations. These data suggest that betaine alters nutrient partitioning such that carcass protein deposition is enhanced at the expense of carcass fat and in part, visceral tissue.
Fernandez-Figares, I. , Wray-Cahen, D. , Steele, N.C. , Campbell, R.G. , Hall, D.D. , Virtanen, E. , Caperna, T.J.
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Journal of animal science Feb 2002. v. 80 (2)
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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