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Effects of dietary copper and sulfur amino acid levels on growth performance and metabolism of nitrogen and copper in weanling pigs


Effects of dietary copper and sulfur amino acid levels on growth performance and metabolism of nitrogen and copper in weanling pigs



Journal of the Agricultural Association of China 9(1): 89-99



Two experiments were conducted to study the effects of dietary copper (Cu) and sulfur amino acids (SAA) on growth, nitrogen (N) balance and Cu retention in weanling pigs. In the feeding experiment, 144 crossbred pigs (initially 10 kg BW) were assigned randomly to treatments with four replicates. A 3 x 3 factorial arrangement of treatments was used with resulting in the main effects of Cu (15, 150 and 300 ppm) and SAA (0.48, 0.63 and 0.78%). The basal diet was a semi-purified diet and contained 0.96% lysine, 0.49% SAA and 15 ppm Cu. Copper sulfate and DL-methionine were used to increase the levels of Cu and SAA in their diets, respectively. The feeding period was four weeks in order to measure pig growth performance. In the metabolism experiment, 36 barrows were used for determining N and Cu retention and measuring hematology and serum urea N and free SAA. The results showed that there was no interaction (P > 0.05) between Cu and SAA in measurements taken. Dietary Cu and SAA did not significantly (P > 0.05) affect pig growth, hemoglobin, red blood cells, hematocrit and serum urea N. The free SAA and methionine in serum were increased linearly (P < 0.05) as the dietary SAA was increasing. The amount (mg/day) of fecal, urinary and total Cu and Cu retention increased linearly (P < 0.01) as the dietary Cu was increased, but those were not affected by the levels of dietary SAA. The percentage of Cu and N retention were not affected by dietary Cu or SAA. On average, 83.7% of Cu intake was excreted in feces. These results indicated that increasing the amount of dietary Cu and SAA did not significantly affect pig growth and percentage of Cu and nitrogen retention, whereas supplemental Cu to weanling pigs diets increased the amount of Cu excretion. The increase of dietary SAA resulted in increasing the serum SAA. There were no interactive effects (P > 0.05) of supplemental Cu and SAA on performance or Cu and N metabolism in pigs.

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