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J Anim Sci. 1991 Jul;69(7):2955-60.

Safety of L-tryptophan for pigs.

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Dept. of Anim. Sci., University of Illinois, Urbana 61801.


Epidemic eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) associated with excess L-tryptophan (Trp) consumption in humans has been declared a major public health problem. The EMS problem has not been observed in pigs, nor has comprehensive pathology associated with EMS in humans been described. Experiments were therefore conducted to evaluate the pathology and effects of excess dietary L-Trp for finishing (79 to 119 kg) pigs and to determine an LD50 of Trp for pigs. In Exp. 1, addition of .1 or 1% Trp to corn-soybean meal diets had no effect on growth performance or leukocyte and relative eosinophil counts or on plasma aspartate transferase, creatine phosphokinase, and lactate dehydrogenase activities. Likewise, untoward pathological effects of Trp feeding were not observed in the animals under study. In Exp. 2, supplementing the basal diet with 0, 2, and 4% Trp caused linear (P less than .05) decreases in weight gain, feed intake, and gain:feed ratio. Mortality could not be produced by acute oral dosing in the LD50 study (Exp. 3), wherein Trp doses between 2.00 and 5.71 g/kg of BW were administered by stomach tube. Vomiting occurred at oral doses greater than 5.71 g/kg of BW. These results suggest that oral ingestion of Trp in pigs is safe and that pigs can tolerate considerable excesses of Trp.

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