Evaluation of glycerol, a biodiesel coproduct, in grow-finish pig diets to support growth and pork quality

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Crossbred pigs (n = 216; BW = 31.3 ± 1.8 kg) were used to determine the effects of long- and short-term feeding of crude glycerol on growth performance, carcass traits, and pork quality of grow-finish pigs. Pigs were blocked by initial BW, and pens within blocks were assigned randomly to 1 of 3 dietary treatments (24 pens; 9 pigs/pen). Dietary treatments were control, a corn-soybean meal-based diet (CON); longterm, CON + 8% glycerol fed throughout the experiment (LT); and short-term, pigs fed CON for the first 6 wk followed by CON + 8% glycerol fed during the last 8 wk of the experiment (ShT). Pigs fed LT had greater (P < 0.05) ADG, whereas pigs fed ShT tended (P < 0.10) to grow faster than CON (CON = 0.962 kg/d, LT = 0.996 kg/d, and ShT = 0.992 kg/d; SE = 0.01). Pigs assigned to LT had greater (P < 0.05) ADFI compared with CON, whereas ShT-fed pigs had similar ADFI to CON (CON = 2.78 kg/d, LT = 2.93 kg/d, and ShT = 2.86 kg/d; SE = 0.03). Gain:feed tended (P < 0.10) to be greater for CON- and ShT-fed pigs compared with LT-fed pigs (CON = 0.346, LT = 0.339, and ShT = 0.346; SE = 0.002). Hot carcass weight was greater (P < 0.05) for LT-fed pigs compared with CON, whereas ShT-fed pigs had HCW similar to both LT- and CON-fed pigs (CON = 94.8 kg, LT = 97.5 kg, and ShT = 96.3 kg; SE = 0.90). Dressing percentage of CON-fed pigs was similar to both LT- and ShT-fed pigs, but LT-fed pigs tended to have greater (P = 0.06) dressing percentage than ShT-fed pigs (CON = 74.5%, LT = 74.9%, and ShT = 74.3%; SE = 0.16). Tenth-rib backfat (P = 0.26) and LM area (P = 0.17) were not affected by dietary treatment. There was a trend (P < 0.10) for LT-fed pigs to have a smaller fat-free lean percentage than CON-fed pigs (CON = 53.1%, LT = 52.26%, and ShT = 52.67%; SE = 0.25). Short-term glycerol feeding increased (P < 0.05) belly firmness compared with CON and had similar belly firmness compared with LT-fed pigs (CON = 29.46°, LT = 35.16°, and ST = 42.08° SE = 3.07). Dietary treatment had no effect (P > 0.60) on pork quality of loins based on taste panel assessments. Feeding pigs 8% crude glycerol throughout the grow-finish period resulted in a 3% improvement in growth rate and a 2% depression in BW gain efficiency compared with CON diets. Grow-finish pigs fed diets containing 8% crude glycerol during the last 8 wk before slaughter achieved growth performance similar to pigs fed CON diets. Effects of crude glycerol on carcass traits seem to be limited to improvements in belly firmness with short-term feeding of glycerol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3927-3935
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Glycerol
  • Pig
  • Pork quality


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