Carcass traits and short-chain fatty acid profile in cecal digesta of piglets fed alfalfa hay and fructooligosaccharides


ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the addition of the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide and/or alfalfa hay to piglet diets on carcass traits and short-chain fatty acid profiles in the cecal digesta. Seventy-two commercial crossbred piglets of both sexes, with an average initial weight about 6 kg and age of approximately 21 days, were distributed in a randomized block design, using a factorial scheme, which consisted of three alfalfa hay levels (0, 5, and 10%) and two fructooligosaccharide levels (0 and 0.3%). Fiber addition in the presence of the prebiotic exerted an effect on cecal digesta short-chain fatty acid, increasing the acetic and reducing the butyric acid concentrations. The meat quality was also affected by the treatments, water activity, water-holding capacity of meat, and especially the reduction of fat content and the increase of moisture. The treatments did not affect the pH and the ammonia content in the cecal digesta. Most carcass traits were not affected by the treatments, except for carcass weight and backfat thickness in points 1 and 2, that decreased with the inclusions of fiber and prebiotic. The addition of 5% alfalfa hay improves carcass and meat traits in growing pigs without any change in carcass weight, demonstrating the advantage of using this ingredient to obtain a healthy final product to the customers.



backfat thickness, fiber, meat quality, prebiotic, swine