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Effect of carbohydrate fermentation on protein metabolism and ammonia excretion

An in vivo experiment was conducted to monitor changes in fermentation end products in the faeces of weaning piglets by the inclusion of selected fermentable carbohydrates in the diet. Specially raised piglets (neither antibiotics nor creep feeding) were weaned abruptly at four weeks of age. Piglets were randomly allotted to either a control diet (CON), or a diet enriched with fermentable carbohydrates (CHO). Faecal samples were collected per rectum every day during the experimental period. The dry matter, volatile fatty acids (VFA) and ammonia concentrations were analyzed from these samples.

Daily feed intake was also recorded. There was no difference in concentrations of VFA in faeces, between the treatment groups. However, the ammonia concentration was significantly lower in the faeces of piglets fed with the CHO diet compared with the CON diet, (P < 0.05). This study concluded that the inclusion of fermentable carbohydrates with different fermentabilities in weaning diets significantly reduced the protein fermentation along the GIT as demonstrated by the reduced faecal concentration of ammonia. This has important implications for the health of newly weaned piglets.

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