Effects of Graded Levels of Montmorillonite on Performance, Hematological Parameters and Bone Mineralization in Weaned Pigs

  • Duan, Q.W. ;
  • Li, J.T. ;
  • Gong, L.M. ;
  • Wu, H. ;
  • Zhang, L.Y.
  • Received : 2012.12.17
  • Accepted : 2013.04.03
  • Published : 2013.11.01


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of graded levels of montmorillonite, a constituent of clay, on performance, hematological parameters and bone mineralization in weaned pigs. One hundred and twenty, 35-d-old crossbred pigs (Duroc${\times}$Large White${\times}$Landrace, $10.50{\pm}1.20$ kg) were used in a 28-d experiment and fed either an unsupplemented corn-soybean meal basal diet or similar diets supplemented with 0.5, 1.0, 2.5 or 5.0% montmorillonite added at the expense of wheat bran. Each treatment was replicated six times with four pigs (two barrows and two gilts) per replicate. Feed intake declined (linear and quadratic effect, p<0.01) with increasing level of montmorillonite while feed conversion was improved (linear and quadratic effect, p<0.01). Daily gain was unaffected by dietary treatment. Plasma myeloperoxidase declined linearly (p = 0.03) with increasing dietary level of montmorillonite. Plasma malondialdehyde and nitric oxide levels were quadratically affected (p<0.01) by montmorillonite with increases observed for pigs fed the 0.5 and 1.0% levels which then declined for pigs fed the 2.5 and 5.0% treatments. In bone, the content of potassium, sodium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium were decreased (linear and quadratic effect, p<0.01) in response to an increase of dietary montmorillonite. These results suggest that dietary inclusion of montmorillonite at levels as high as 5.0% does not result in overt toxicity but could induce potential oxidative damage and reduce bone mineralization in pigs.


Montmorillonite;Growth Performance;Hematological Parameters;Bone Mineralization;Weaned Pig


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