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J Anim Sci. 2004 Nov;82(11):3277-87.

Effects of dietary lysine and energy density on performance and carcass characteristics of finishing pigs fed ractopamine.

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Department of Animal Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701, USA.


Two hundred sixteen crossbred barrows and gilts (84.3 kg BW) were used to test the effects of dietary energy density and lysine:energy ratio (Lys:ME) on the performance, carcass characteristics, and pork quality of finishing pigs fed 10 ppm ractopamine. Pigs were blocked by BW and gender, allotted to 36 pens (six pigs per pen), and pens were assigned randomly within blocks to dietary treatments (as-fed basis) arranged in a 2 x 3 factorial design, with two levels of energy (3.30 or 3.48 Mcal/kg) and three Lys:ME (1.7, 2.4, or 3.1 g lysine/Mcal) levels. Pigs were fed experimental diets for 28 d, and weights and feed disappearance were recorded weekly to calculate ADG, ADFI, and G:F. Upon completion of the feeding trial, pigs were slaughtered and carcass data were collected before fabrication. During carcass fabrication, hams were analyzed for lean composition using a ham electrical conductivity (TOBEC) unit, and loins were collected, vacuum-packaged, and boxed for pork quality data collection. Energy density had no (P > 0.22) effect on ADG or ADFI across the entire 28-d feeding trial; however, pigs fed 3.48 Mcal of ME were more (P < 0.02) efficient than pigs fed 3.30 Mcal of ME. In addition, ADG and G:F increased linearly (P < 0.01) as Lys:ME increased from 1.7 to 3.1 g/Mcal. Carcasses of pigs fed 3.48 Mcal of ME were fatter at the last lumbar vertebrae (P < 0.08) and 10th rib (P < 0.04), resulting in a lower (P < 0.03) predicted fat-free lean yield (FFLY). Conversely, 10th-rib fat thickness decreased linearly (P = 0.02), and LM depth (P < 0.01) and area (P < 0.01) increased linearly, with increasing Lys:ME. Moreover, FFLY (P < 0.01) and actual ham lean yield (P < 0.01) increased as Lys:ME increased in the diet. Dietary energy density had no (P > 0.19) effect on pork quality, and Lys:ME did not (P > 0.20) affect muscle pH, drip loss, color, and firmness scores. Marbling scores, as well as LM lipid content, decreased linearly (P < 0.01) as Lys:ME increased from 1.7 to 3.1 g/Mcal. There was a linear (P < 0.01) increase in shear force of cooked LM chops as Lys:ME increased in the finishing diet. Results indicate that 3.30 Mcal of ME/kg (as-fed basis) is sufficient for optimal performance and carcass leanness in pigs fed ractopamine. The Lys:ME for optimal performance and carcass composition seems higher than that currently used in the swine industry; however, feeding very high Lys:ME (> 3.0 g/Mcal, as-fed basis) to ractopamine-fed pigs may result in decreased marbling and cooked pork tenderness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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