Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tryptophan-enriched diet reduces pig aggression

19.03.2010
Feeding the amino acid tryptophan to young female pigs as part of their regular diet makes them less aggressive and easier to manage, according to a study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and cooperators.

The tryptophan-enhanced diet reduced aggression and overall behavioral activity among young female pigs during the 8-month study. Tryptophan, which is only acquired through diet, is the precursor for the calming cerebral neurotransmitter serotonin. Keeping swine calm is important, because aggressive behavior can harm them and increase feed and medical costs for producers.

The study was done by ARS doctoral student Rosangela Poletto and animal scientist Jeremy Marchant-Forde at the ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit in West Lafayette, Ind. Collaborators included biologist Heng-Wei Cheng at the ARS lab in West Lafayette, and Purdue University scientists Robert L. Meisel and Brian T. Richert.

The supplemented diet raised blood concentrations of tryptophan in 3-month-old females by 180 percent, and by 85 percent in 6-month-old females, resulting in calmer animals, mainly at the younger age. Persistent aggression in pigs can cause chronic stress, leading to poorer welfare, increased disease susceptibility and reduced growth and efficiency.

In the study, a diet with 2.5 times the normal amount of tryptophan was fed for one week to grower pigs (3 months old) and finisher pigs (6 months old). Another group of pigs received a normal diet. Behavioral activity and aggressiveness were measured before and after the seven days of diet supplementation.

To test aggression, researchers put an "intruder" pig in the pen until an aggressive interaction was triggered or for a maximum of five minutes. Pigs receiving the high-tryptophan diet showed less aggression—fewer attacked the intruder, and those that did attack were slower to do so—compared with the animals that didn't get the supplement.

Pigs form social groups that, over time, form stable hierarchies or "pecking orders." However, when new individuals are introduced, aggression is used to re-establish a new hierarchical order. If repeated changes in group composition occur, persistent aggression may arise, sometimes leading to physical injury and acute stress. A tryptophan-enriched diet may help producers avoid these problems, especially when groups of pigs are mixed together.

The research was published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal intramural scientific research agency. The research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Sharon Durham | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ars.usda.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>