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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2009 Apr;93(2):181-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2007.00804.x.

Comparison of total tract digestibility, development of visceral organs and digestive tract of Mong cai and Yorkshire x Landrace piglets fed diets with different fibre sources.

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  • 1Department of Animal Nutrition, National Institute of Animal Husbandry, Thuy Phuong - Tu Liem, Hanoi, Vietnam.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of piglet age and dietary fibre source on the development of visceral organs and the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), and on growth performance and total tract apparent digestibility (TTAD) in local [pure-breed Mong cai (MC)] and exotic [Landrace x Yorkshire (LY)] piglets. The experimental diets contained different fibre sources: C (basal diet), RB (basal diet + rice bran), SPVM (basal diet + sweet potato vine meal) and CReM (basal diet + cassava residue meal). The neutral detergent fibre (NDF) content in diet C and the fibrous diets was 8.8% and 17.1%-17.7% respectively (dry matter basis). Collection of faecal samples to determine TTAD was carried out for five consecutive days before the experiment was finished (63 days). The piglets were killed at the age of 10 days (before being given the same solid feed), 30 days (weaning, 20 days after solid feed introduced) and 63 days (33 days after being given the different fibrous diets) when the length of intestinal segments, weight of organs (liver, heart, kidneys) and empty weight of the GIT (stomach, small intestine, caecum and colon + rectum) were measured. As the age of animals increased, the relative weight of organs and the length of intestines (expressed on a mass-specific basis) decreased (p < 0.05), and the weight of GIT increased (p < 0.001). The piglets fed fibrous diets had heavier GIT than those fed diet C with the highest values in CReM (p < 0.05). The colon + rectum length was not significantly different among C, RB and SPVM, but was shorter than in CReM (p < 0.05). Coefficient of total tract apparent digestibility (CTTAD) of nutrients in the fibrous diets was lower than in C (p < 0.01). Average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) in C, RB and CReM were not different and were better than in SPVM (p < 0.01). There were no significant differences in the weights of organs between the two breeds at day 10, 30 and 63 (p > 0.05). The weight and length of GIT were not significantly different between the two breeds at day 10 and day 30, but were greater for MC at day 63. The caecum and colon + rectum at 10 and 30 days were longer in MC than in LY (p < 0.001). The relative development of GIT post-weaning was higher than pre-weaning, the difference being most apparent in MC. As a result at 63 days, MC had heavier visceral organs and GIT, and longer intestines on fibrous diets than LY (p < 0.05). The MC at 63 days had higher CTTAD of organic matter, gross energy, crude fibre and NDF (p < 0.001) and ether extract and crude protein (p < 0.05), but lower ADG and poorer FCR than LY (p < 0.001). It can be concluded that the GIT of the MC piglets developed more rapidly than LY when they were introduced to solid feed, and that the difference was more marked on the fibrous diets and after weaning, which resulted in higher total tract digestibility of nutrients in MC compared with LY. Cassava residue meal was better digested than RB and SPVM, and supported higher live weight gains.

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