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Effect of reduced dietary calcium concentration and phytase supplementation on calcium and phosphorus utilization in weanling pigs with modified mineral status

Létourneau-Montminy, M.P., Narcy, A., Magnin, M., Sauvant, D., Bernier, J.F., Pomar, C., Jondreville, C.
Journal of animal science 2010 v.88 no.5 pp. 1706-1717
swine, weanlings, swine feeding, nutrient intake, dietary minerals, calcium, phytases, feed supplements, phosphorus, mineral metabolism, nutritional status, bone density, bone mineralization, ash content, blood chemistry, alkaline phosphatase, feces, urine, nutrient-nutrient interactions, nutrient availability, skeleton, femur
The present study was conducted to assess the effect of 2 dietary Ca concentrations on P and Ca digestive and metabolic utilization in weanling pigs fed diets providing practical concentrations of P, with or without phytase. The responses of pigs fed diets adequate or moderately deficient in Ca and P postweaning were compared. A total of 60 pigs weaned at 28 d of age were used. Two groups of 30 pigs with differing mineral status resulted from a 10-d depletion period, during which the animals received depletion diets (DD) that consisted of corn-soybean meal with either 1.42% Ca and 0.80% P (DD+) or 0.67% Ca and 0.43% P (DD-), designed to achieve the same Ca:digestible P ratio. At the end of the depletion period, a plasma sample was taken from each pig and 12 pigs (6 from each group) were slaughtered for bone assessment to establish the baseline mineral status. The animals fed the DD- diet had signs of P deficiency with reduced plasma P (13%; P < 0.01) and femur ash concentration (8%; P < 0.05), and increased plasma Ca (9%; P < 0.05) and alkaline phosphatase activity (31%; P < 0.01). For the subsequent 25-d period, the remaining 24 pigs from each group were fed 1 of 4 repletion diets: 1) 0.56% P, 1.06% Ca; 2) 0.56% P, 0.67% Ca; 3) diet 1 + 1,000 phytase units (FTU) of Natuphos phytase/kg; and 4) diet 2 + 1,000 FTU of Natuphos phytase/kg. Total feces and urine were collected from d 5 to 11, and a blood sample was taken from each pig at d 11 and 25. The initial moderate P deficiency (DD-) stimulated Ca absorption (5%; P < 0.01), irrespective of the repletion diet, and stimulated P absorption (5%; DD x phytase, P < 0.05), only when the diets contained phytase. At the end of the repletion period, because of these compensatory phenomena, the depleted pigs achieved full recovery of femur DM and ash weight when they received phytase, whereas ash concentration tended to remain reduced by 3% (P = 0.08). Phosphorus digestibility was improved in the diets supplemented with phytase (73.0 vs. 56.0%; P < 0.001), whereas an increase in dietary Ca decreased P digestibility (65.6 vs. 63.4%; P < 0.05). Those 2 effects were independent, indicating that dietary Ca reduced equally P digestibility with and without phytase and did not influence the efficiency of phytase in releasing P in the digestive tract. In pigs fed diets with phytase, however, the reduction of Ca (Ca:P from 1.9 to 1.3) increased urinary P losses 5-fold. Those extra losses were due to a lack of Ca for skeleton ash deposition, resulting in a 4% reduction in femur ash concentration. In the end, reducing the dietary Ca:P from 1.9 to 1.3 in a practical diet containing 0.56% P did not improve the efficiency of phytase in releasing P. Moreover, the reduction in dietary Ca (Ca:P) caused an imbalance between Ca and P that impaired bone mineralization.