Application of feed processing methods and use of exogenous feed additives in an effort to improve nutrient digestibility of plant-based feed ingredients for swine has been studied for decades. The following review will discuss several of these topics, including: fiber characterization, impact of dietary fiber on gastrointestinal physiology, energy, and nutrient digestibility, mechanical processing of feed on fiber and energy digestibility, and the use of exogenous enzymes in diets fed to growing pigs. Taken together, the diversity and concentration of chemical characteristics that exists among plant-based feed ingredients, as well as interactions among constituents within feed ingredients and diets, suggests that improvements in nutrient digestibility and pig performance from mechanical processing or adding exogenous enzymes to diets fed to swine depends on a better understanding of these characteristics, but also relating enzyme activity to targeted substrates. It may be that an enzyme must not only match a target substrate(s), but there may also need to be a ′cocktail′ of enzymes to effectively breakdown the complex matrixes of fibrous carbohydrates, such that the negative impact of these compounds on nutrient digestibility or voluntary feed intake are alleviated. With the inverse relationship between fiber content and energy digestibility being well described for several feed ingredients, it is only logical that development of processing techniques or enzymes that degrade fiber, and thereby improve energy digestibility or voluntary feed intake, will be both metabolically and economically beneficial to pork production.
- Growing-finishing pigs
- Nutrient digestibility