April 21, 2019

Interpretive Summary: Palatability in pigs, the pleasure of consumption.

Interpretive Summary: Palatability in pigs, the pleasure of consumption. 

By: Dr. Thomas Powell

Conventional wisdom dictates that the amount of a feedstuff a pig consumes is a good indicator of the palatability of that feedstuff. Research from the University of Chile, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Autonomous University of Barcelona and Cardiff University reveals that there may be more accurate indicators of feedstuff palatability in swine. The study is published in a recent issue of the Journal of Animal Science.

Researchers started with prior results from observations of rodents and extended the methods to swine. The core objective of the study was to evaluate palatability responses in pigs to sweet and umami flavors at different inclusion levels. 48 pigs were exposed in pairs to different sucrose solutions (0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32%) or to different MSG solutions (0.1, 1, 10, 60, 100, 150, and 300 mM). Consumption time (total time drinking at the pan; CT) and approaches (number of times the pan was approached with a consumption result; A) were assessed. Palatability was estimated through consumption patterns (CT/A) which have proven to be a good indicator in rats in prior research. 

For the sucrose solutions, consumption, CT and A peaked at the intermediate levels of sucrose and declined at higher levels. However, the measure of palatability (CT/A) increased with sucrose concentrations. For MSG, consumption, CT, A and CT/A all increased as MSG concentration increased. The disparity between consumption and CT/A for the sucrose solutions indicates that consumption alone is not a direct measure of food palatability and is likely compounded by hunger and satiety issues. 

Practically, these observations may be important for diet formulation in industry. Observing total consumption alone may mask low palatability of additives. Or highly-palatable additives that also contribute to satiety may reduce total consumption and give the false impression that the additive is not palatable. Using consumptions patterns like CT/A could prove useful in evaluating actual palatability of additives. 

The article also examines the potential use of orofacial responses and brief consumption time though additional research is needed to determine the efficacy of these measurements.

To view the full article, visit the Journal of Animal Science