Use of δ-Aminolevulinic Acid in Swine Diet: Effect on Growth Performance, Behavioral Characteristics and Hematological/Immune Status in Nursery Pigs

  • Mateo, R.D. (Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University) ;
  • Morrow, J.L. (USDA-ARS) ;
  • Dailey, J.W. (USDA-ARS) ;
  • Ji, F. (Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University) ;
  • Kim, Sung Woo (Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University)
  • Received : 2004.09.26
  • Accepted : 2005.09.08
  • Published : 2006.01.01


Certain amino acids are essential precursors of a variety of important biomolecules in addition to their major function as protein building blocks. ${\delta}$-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is synthesized from the condensed form of succinyl-CoA with glycine after decarboxylation catalyzed by ALA synthase. The objective of the study was to determine the effects of ALA supplementation on growth performance, behavioral characteristics and hematological/immune status in nursery pigs. A total of 144 pigs weaned at 21 d of age were allotted to three dietary treatments representing (-) control (w/o antibiotics; NC), (+) control (w/carbadox at 50 mg/kg; PC), and the treatment group with ALA supplementation (0.05%; TA). Each treatment had 6 pens (replicates) with 8 pigs per pen. Pigs were fed phase 1 (21.9% CP, 1.40% Lys) and 2 (20.6% CP, 1.15% Lys) experimental diets for 3 and 2 wks, respectively. Feed intake and weight gain were measured weekly during phase 1 and at the end of phase 2. At the end of phase 2, blood samples were taken and analyzed using an automated hematology analyzer. Skin color and activity of pigs (48 h) from all pens in each treatment were measured at the second week of phase 2. Growth performance was not affected (p>0.05) by the dietary supplementation of ALA during the 5 wk nursery period. Pigs in the TA (6.46) and PC (6.68) had a higher (p<0.05) number of red blood cells ($10^6cell/{\mu}L$) than pigs in the NC (6.15). Pigs in PC (12.16) had a higher (p<0.05) hemoglobin level (g/dL) than pigs in the NC group (11.29) and the TA group (11.47). Pigs in the TA and PC had darker (p<0.05) and less (p<0.05) yellow skin color than pigs in the NC. Pigs in the PC tended (p = 0.081) to be less active than pigs in the other groups. There were no differences in behavioral characteristics between the NC and the TA. The data suggest that ALA supplementation has no adverse effects on growth performance of nursery pigs. Moreover, ALA supplementation increased red blood cell counts which may be beneficial to pigs.


Supported by : EasyBio Systems, Inc.


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