Protein digestibility of porcine colostrum by neonatal pigs Academic Article uri icon


  • Colostrum plays an important role in neonatal growth and development. However, little is known about the digestion of macronutrients in colostrum of any species. This study was conducted with the neonatal piglet model to determine the digestibility of proteins in porcine colostrum. Twelve, 1-d-old, male piglets were selected from 3 litters (4 pigs/litter) and housed individually in metabolism crates with heating lamps to maintain a temperature of 35 °C. Colostrum (13 L) was collected from 400 sows (30 to 40 mL/sow) within 12 h postpartum after injection of oxytocin. All piglets were fed colostrum containing 0.25% (DM basis) chromium oxide as an external marker based on the following feeding program: 6 meals/d for an entire 3-d period; with 40 mL/meal for d 1 (240 mL/d), 55 mL/meal for d 2 (330 mL/d), and 70 mL/meal for d 3 (420 mL/d). Colostrum was hand-fed using baby milk bottles. Entire fecal samples with the chromium green color were collected each day after colostrum feeding. Fecal collection was terminated before the fading of the green color. Fecal samples were weighed (10.3 ± 1.0 g/pig), stored in - 20 °C, freeze-dried, and thoroughly ground for chemical analysis. Blood samples were collected at 0900 h of d 3 to obtain plasma samples for amino acid and immunoglobulin (Ig) G analysis. Digestibilities of crude protein and DM in colostrum, defined as the percentage of ingested colostral crude proteins and DM that disappeared in the gut, averaged 96.9 ± 0.4% and 98.3 ± 0.2%, respectively. Digestibility of total amino acids (protein-bound plus free amino acids) in the colostrum was 98.3 ± 0.1%, with the values being 98.5 ± 0.3, 98.2 ± 0.4, and 98.3 ± 0.3%, respectively, for Lys, Thr, and Arg. Plasma and colostral IgG content were 3.4 ± 0.3 and 3.8 ± 0.7 g/L, respectively. In conclusion, protein-bound and free amino acids in porcine colostrum were highly digestible and available to neonatal pigs. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lin, C., Mahan, D. C., Wu, G., & Kim, S. W.

citation count

  • 18

publication date

  • April 2009