Dietary supplementation with monosodium glutamate is safe and improves growth performance in postweaning pigs Academic Article uri icon


  • Dietary intake of glutamate by postweaning pigs is markedly reduced due to low feed consumption. This study was conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of dietary supplementation with monosodium glutamate (MSG) in postweaning pigs. Piglets were weaned at 21 days of age to a corn and soybean meal-based diet supplemented with 0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 % MSG (n = 25/group). MSG was added to the basal diet at the expense of cornstarch. At 42 days of age (21 days after weaning), blood samples (10 mL) were obtained from the jugular vein of 25 pigs/group at 1 and 4 h after feeding for hematological and clinical chemistry tests; thereafter, pigs (n = 6/group) were euthanized to obtain tissues for histopathological examinations. Feed intake was not affected by dietary supplementation with 0-2 % MSG and was 15 % lower in pigs supplemented with 4 % MSG compared with the 0 % MSG group. Compared with the control, dietary supplementation with 1, 2 and 4 % MSG dose-dependently increased plasma concentrations of glutamate, glutamine, and other amino acids (including lysine, methionine, phenylalanine and leucine), daily weight gain, and feed efficiency in postweaning pigs. At day 7 postweaning, dietary supplementation with 1-4 % MSG also increased jejunal villus height, DNA content, and antioxidative capacity. The MSG supplementation dose-dependently reduced the incidence of diarrhea during the first week after weaning. All variables in standard hematology and clinical chemistry tests, as well as gross and microscopic structures, did not differ among the five groups of pigs. These results indicate that dietary supplementation with up to 4 % MSG is safe and improves growth performance in postweaning pigs.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rezaei, R., Knabe, D. A., Tekwe, C. D., Dahanayaka, S., Ficken, M. D., Fielder, S. E., ... Wu, G.

citation count

  • 100
  • 103

publication date

  • November 2012