Effects of dietary protease supplementation on growth rate, nutrient digestibility, and intestinal morphology of weaned pigs
Received: Mar 30, 2022; Revised: Apr 08, 2022; Accepted: Apr 11, 2022
Published Online: May 10, 2022
The addition dietary proteases (PRO) to weaner diets hydrolyzes soybean-based anti-nutritive factors and improves weaned pig’s dietary digestibility and growth performance. Therefore, this study explores the effects of PRO in a lower crude protein (CP) level diet than that in a commercial diet on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and intestinal morphology of weaned pigs. A total of 90 weaned pigs were randomly assigned to 3 dietary treatments with 6 pigs per pen and 5 replicated pens per treatment using a randomized complete block design (block = BW): 1) a commercial weaner diet as a positive control (PC; phase1 CP = 23.71%; phase2 CP: 22.36%), 2) lower CP diet than PC as a negative control (NC; 0.61% less CP than PC), and 3) an NC diet with 0.02% PRO. Pigs fed PC and PRO had higher (<italic>P</italic> < 0.05) final BW, average daily gain, and/or gain to feed ratio for the first three weeks and the overall experimental period than NC. The PC and PRO groups had greater (<italic>P</italic> < 0.05) apparent ileal digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, and energy than the NC group. Moreover, pigs fed PC and PRO increased (<italic>P</italic> < 0.05) apparent total tract digestibility of crude protein compared with those fed NC. In addition, the PRO group had a higher the number of goblet cells than the PC and NC groups. However, pig fed PC and PRO increased (<italic>P</italic> < 0.05) villus height and height to crypt depth ratio in the ileum compared with those fed NC. In conclusion, PRO supplementation in a commercial weaner diet with low CP levels improves growth rate and nutrient digestibility by modulating intestinal morphology of weaned pigs.