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J Anim Sci. 1997 Dec;75(12):3174-86.

Phytase supplementation of low-phosphorus growing-finishing pig diets improves performance, phosphorus digestibility, and bone mineralization and reduces phosphorus excretion.

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  • 1Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061-0306, USA.


Two experiments using 413 crossbred growing-finishing pigs were conducted to assess the use of a commercial microbial phytase (Natuphos) in corn-soybean meal diets to improve phytate P bioavailability and thus reduce inorganic P supplementation and fecal P excretion. In Exp. 1 (n = 189), the following diets were used: 1) .50/.40% total P, respectively, for grower and finisher phases, and no phytase; 2) .40/.35% P and no phytase; 3) diet 2 plus 250 U phytase/kg; and 4) diet 2 plus 500 U phytase/ kg. The total Ca level was .58/.48% for diet 1 and .53/.43% Ca for diets 2, 3, and 4 in the grower and finisher phases, respectively. Feeding the low-P diet without supplemental phytase resulted in an overall 18% reduction in ADG (P < .05), 15% reduction in ADFI (P < .05), and 3% poorer feed efficiency (P < .08). Adding 250 to 500 U phytase/kg to the low-P diet restored ADG, ADFI, and feed conversion to levels not significantly different from and within 96% of that observed for pigs fed the adequate-P diet. The overall apparent digestibility of P was linearly (P < .01) improved with addition of 250 and 500 U phytase/kg to the low-P diet, but Ca and DM digestibilities were not affected by phytase or P level. In Exp. 2 (n = 224) the following diets were used: 1) .38/.33% total P, respectively, for grower and finisher phases, and no phytase; 2) .42/.37% P and no phytase; 3) .46/.41% P and no phytase; 4) diet 1 plus 167 U/kg phytase; 5) diet 1 plus 333 U/kg phytase; and 6) diet 1 plus 500 U/kg phytase. All diets contained .41/.36% Ca for grower and finisher phases, respectively. Pigs fed the low-P control diet grew slower (P < .01) and less efficiently (P < .10) than pigs fed diets with added P or phytase. With increasing levels of supplemental phytase or P there was a linear increase (P < .01) in ADG, digestibility of P, and digested P and a quadratic improvement (P < .05) in feed efficiency. Tenth rib mineralization based on shear force and ash were linearly increased (P < .08 to .001) as phytase or P was added to the low-P diet. There were generally no effects of P or phytase level on carcass quality. Using prediction equations derived from the response traits of ADG and P digestibility in Exp. 1 and ADG, P digestibility, and bone shear force in Exp. 2 to added phytase or P, we estimated that 500 U phytase released an amount of phytate P that was approximately equivalent to .87 to .96 g of P from dicalcium-monocalcium phosphate supplements. Fecal P excretion was estimated to be reduced 21.5%.

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