Effect of dietary acids on growth performance of nursery pigs: A cooperative study

T. M. Che, O. Adeola, M. J. Azain, S. D. Carter, G. L. Cromwell, G. M. Hill, D. C. Mahan, P. S. Miller, J. E. Pettigrew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


An experiment involving 854 crossbred pigs (20 replicate pens of 4 to 8 pigs per pen) was conducted at 8 experiment stations to determine the effects of acids in nursery pig diets and their inclusion amounts on growth performance using diets and weaning ages typical of those used in the United States commercial pork industry. Diets were formulated to have constant a ME and contain 1.45, 1.45, and 1.30% standardized ileal digestible Lys for phases 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The basal diets were supplemented with various types and concentrations of acid at the expense of corn (Zea mays). Treatment diets included 0% acid (control), 0.1 or 0.2% phosphoric acid, 1 or 2% organic acids, and 0.1% phosphoric acid plus 1% organic acids with or without an antibiotic. The organic acids consisted of 50% citric acid and 50% fumaric acid by weight. All but the fi nal diet contained the antibiotic carbadox. All diets contained 3,000 mg of Zn/kg diet from zinc oxide during phases 1 and 2 and had limited acid buffering capacity, ranging from 142, 127, and 122 mEq/kg of feed for phases 1, 2, and 3, respectively. At each participating station, pigs were randomly allotted to dietary treatments on the basis of their initial BW. Sex and ancestry were equally distributed across the treatments. Results indicated that treatment effects on pig performance were observed in phases 1 and 2 but not in phase 3. In phase 1, ADG of pigs fed 0.2% phosphoric acid was greater than that of pigs fed the combination of acids with no antibiotic (P = 0.041). In phase 2, pigs fed treatments containing an antibiotic had a greater ADG than those fed the combination of acids without antibiotic (P < 0.05). Addition of acids to diets did not affect growth performance during any phase or the overall period. Over the 4-wk study, growth rate was slowest on the treatment without antibiotic, with specifi c differences that were often statistically signifi cant (P < 0.05). In summary, under the conditions of this experiment, the acid treatments had no effect but the antibiotic improved growth performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4408-4413
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid combination
  • Antibiotic
  • Growth performance
  • Inorganic acid
  • Nursery pigs
  • Organic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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