Setting Swine Up for "Sweet Success"
Setting Swine Up for "Sweet Success"
When raising swine, the overall performance of a production pig is affected primarily by the weaning period. This is due to commercially farmed piglets potentially being exposed to numerous stressors, such as overcrowding, hot temperatures, feed restrictions and poor handling. So as piglets transition to solid feed, laying the foundation for performance throughout their life is essential. A successful transition to solid feed provides necessary nutrients for the piglets' growth and development, which can affect their overall health and performance as adults.
Farmers can address piglets' challenges during the weaning period by using sweeteners to encourage their feed intake. Sweeteners activate the sweet taste receptors in the lingual epithelium of piglets' mouths, creating a satisfying sweet taste that encourages them to eat. Sweeteners may also stimulate the sweet taste receptors in the intestines, enhancing the gut’s ability to absorb glucose, electrolytes and water. This has significant nutritional and physiological advantages, such as preventing post-weaning malabsorption and improving resilience against intestinal challenges. In addition to the sweet taste, sweetening products often contain potentiators and enhancers that increase the intensity of the sweetness and flavor qualities, making the feed more appealing to piglets.
Developing Swine-Specific Sweeteners
Farmers can set their piglets up for sweet success with two new sweeteners from ADM called SUCRAM M'I SWEET, a premium solution that utilizes monk fruit juice, and SUCRAM SPECIFEEK. Both solutions help improve the palatability of feed and are saccharin-free, making them more environmentally friendly, as per the recent concerns expressed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) related to potential groundwater contamination associated with using sodium saccharin in animal feeds1.
In partnership with the University of Liverpool, ADM researchers have identified which sweetening compounds activate the sweet taste receptor in pigs and to what extent. These trials included an innovative three-level approach to determine the specificity and efficacy of different sweetening compounds to activate the swine sweet taste receptors. Initially, a cell-based in vitro model was used to apply different sweetening compounds to cells transfected with the swine sweet taste receptor genes. This was followed by feeding trials assessing the activation levels of the intestinal sweet taste receptors and in vivo studies to evaluate the improvement of feed palatability and the consequent impact on feed intake and body weight gain. The results of this research concluded with a "knowledge library" of compounds that specifically activate the sweet taste receptor in pigs, leading to the development of these two new swine-specific sweeteners. By using these sweeteners, farmers can help their piglets during the weaning period and promote enhanced overall health and performance.
Sweet Formulations and Taste
ADM's innovative new SUCRAM solutions stand out because it considers swine's distinct needs and preferences by recognizing the substantial variations between sweet taste receptors. Studies have revealed that sweet taste perception can differ among species due to differences in sweet taste receptor structure and function. As a result, a sweetener that is effective for one species may not be appealing or beneficial for another.
Furthermore, the advantages of incorporating sweeteners in animal feed go beyond just improving its taste. Sweeteners can enhance the palatability of feed, making it more appealing to animals. Additionally, they can mask unappealing tastes, increase the flexibility of feed material sources, and encourage feed intake by providing a positive sensory experience that supports animal health and well-being.
SUCRAM M’I SWEET and SUCRAM SPECIFEEK are currently available for sale in the European Union.
Learn more about ADM’s nutrition solutions for swine at adm.com.
1. Bampidis V, Azimonti G, de Lourdes Bastos M, et al. Safety of a feed additive consisting of sodium saccharin for suckling and weaned piglets, fattening pigs, calves for rearing and for fattening. EFSA Journal 2023;21(1):7710 2023;21.