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J Anim Sci. 2003 Mar;81(3):705-16.

Effects of protein deprivation on subsequent growth performance, gain of body components, and protein requirements in growing pigs.

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Department of Animal Science, Korea University, 136-701 Seoul.


Forty-eight barrows were used in a 2 x 6 factorial arrangement to test a hypothesis that feeding a protein-deficient diet affects subsequent growth response by altering the efficiency of protein utilization. Barrows were individually fed either a 9% crude protein (CP) diet or an 18% CP diet from 20 to 30 kg of body weight (BW) (depletion phase). From 30 to 45 kg BW (realimentation phase), pigs were fed one of six experimental diets with CP levels of 11.8, 13.1, 14.3, 15.6, 18.8, and 21.8%. Four pigs were slaughtered at 20 kg BW to determine initial body composition. Four pigs from each treatment in depletion phase (a total of eight) were slaughtered at 30 kg BW, and all pigs from each treatment in realimentation phase (a total of 36) were slaughtered at 45 kg BW for subsequent compositional analysis. Pigs were bled at 20, 30, and 40 kg BW for blood urea nitrogen (BUN), insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, and IGF-binding protein (IGFBP) assays. Pigs were given three times the maintenance digestible energy requirement (3 x 120 kcal BW(-0.75) x d(-1)) in three equal meals daily. The feed allowance was adjusted every 3 d. During the depletion phase, pigs fed the 18% CP diet grew faster and more efficiently (P < 0.01) and gained more (P < 0.01) water and protein than did pigs fed the 9% CP diet. Pigs fed the 18% CP diet showed higher (P < 0.01) BUN values, IGF-I concentrations, and IGFBP ratios than pigs fed the 9% CP diet. During the realimentation phase, pigs fed the 9% CP diet during the depletion phase grew faster (P < 0.05), tended to grow more efficiently (P = 0.066), gained more water (P < 0.01), and tended to gain more protein (P = 0.068) than pigs fed the 18% CP diet during the depletion phase. Pigs fed the 9% CP diet during the depletion phase tended (P = 0.069) to have a higher protein requirement during the realimentation phase than pigs fed the 18% CP diet during the depletion phase. When measured at 40 kg BW, pigs fed the 9% CP diet had a lower (P < 0.05) BUN than pigs fed the 18% CP diet during the depletion phase. However, the plasma IGF-I concentration and IGFBP ratio at 40 kg BW were not affected by dietary CP level fed during the depletion phase. This study indicates that pigs fed a protein-deficient diet exhibit compensatory growth. During the period of compensatory growth, the requirement of CP for those pigs is higher than that of pigs previously fed an adequate diet. This study also suggests BUN can be used as an indicator of protein utilization efficiency and compensatory growth.

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