Addition of arginine and leucine to low or normal protein diets: performance, carcass characteristics and intramuscular fat of finishing pigs

Núria Tous, Rosil Lizardo, Borja Vilà, Marina Gispert, Maria Font-i-Furnols, Enric Esteve-Garcia


The effect of dietary crude protein (CP) reduction, supplementation with arginine or leucine on intramuscular fat (IMF) content was evaluated in (Landrace × Duroc) × Pietrain pigs. One-hundred and eight barrows (67 ± 4 kg) were assigned to six diets (n=6 pens of 3 pigs each): four normal CP diets containing 16% CP from 60 to 90 kg and 13% CP from 90 to 115 kg live weight (normal protein; normal protein high Arg, normal protein high Leu or normal protein high Arg and Leu) and two low CP diets containing 14% CP from 60 to 90 kg and 11.8% CP from 90 to 115 kg live weight (with or without supplementation of both amino acids). The high Leu and Arg diets were supplemented to obtain ratios of standard ileal digestible Leu/Lys and Arg/Lys of 4 and 2, respectively. While feed to gain ratio tended to increase (p<0.05), final weight (p<0.01), average daily feed intake (ADFI) (p<0.05) and average daily gain (ADG) (p<0.01) were reduced in animals fed low-protein diets supplemented with Arg and Leu compared to the ones fed low-protein diet unsupplemented. Marbling and IMF content in loin were reduced when Arg was supplemented (p<0.05) in normal protein diets. Supplementing these diets with Arg also reduced belly weight (p<0.01) and increased lean meat percentage (p<0.05). Contrary to the initial hypothesis, reduction of CP or dietary supplementation with Leu had no effect on IMF content and supplementation with Arg reduced it.


amino acid; branched chain amino acids antagonism; meat quality; loin depth; marbling; subcutaneous fat

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2016144-9351