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The Effect of Dietary Helianthus tuberosus L. on the Populations of Pig Faecal Bacteria and the Prevalence of Skatole

1
Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
2
Department of Microbiology, Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(4), 693; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040693
Received: 6 March 2020 / Revised: 10 April 2020 / Accepted: 14 April 2020 / Published: 16 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
The elimination of boar taint by a method other than surgical castration without anaesthesia is currently one of the main topics in pig research. Boar taint occurs in meat from some entire male pigs and is undesirable for sensitive consumers. Boar taint is mainly caused by skatole. Skatole is produced by the breakdown of proteins by intestinal bacteria and can be stored in meat and reduce its sensory quality (taste and odour). Boar taint can be reduced by a diet high in easily fermentable saccharides, such as Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.). These saccharides change the bacterial colonisation in the intestines and thus reduce the production of skatole. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different levels of Jerusalem artichoke on performance, carcass composition and skatole and indole levels in adipose tissue and on microbiota in faecal samples. In the present study, Jerusalem artichoke had no negative effect on the growth performance or carcass value in male pigs. Moreover, Jerusalem artichoke led to decreased skatole levels in the adipose tissue, probably due to the decreased level of proteolytic bacteria, which cause a higher rate of skatole production in the gastrointestinal tract. It seems that a dietary concentration of 8.1% of Jerusalem artichoke fed 13 days before slaughter is a sufficient dose for decreasing the skatole levels to those of castrated males, and this approach could be an alternative to the surgical castration of male pigs.
Jerusalem artichoke contains inulin polysaccharide, which has prebiotic effects and influences the microbiota of the digestive tract. The addition of Jerusalem artichoke in boar diets may decrease the content of skatole and indole, which are the main constituents of boar taint, and may also negatively affect the taste and odor. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of different levels of Helianthus tuberosus L. (H. tuberosus) in feed mixtures on performance, carcass composition, the levels of microbiota in faecal samples, and the concentrations of skatole and indole in adipose tissue. The study was performed with 47 crossbred entire male pigs of the Large White sire × (Large White dame × Landrace) genotype fed a basal diet with 0%, 4.1%, 8.1% or 12.2% H. tuberosus for 13 days before slaughter. Significant differences in daily weight gain and daily feed intake were found (p = 0.045), with the values being lower in the group with the highest level of H. tuberosus. In addition, increasing levels of H. tuberosus decreased the concentration of skatole in the adipose tissue (p = 0.003). The highest level of H. tuberosus decreased the level of Escherichia coli (p ≤ 0.001) in the faeces. The enterococcal count increased (p = 0.029) in groups with a diet that included 4.1% and 8.1% H. tuberosus. There was also a significant correlation between the concentration of H. tuberosus and the concentration of E. coli (p < 0.001; −0.64) and the skatole levels in the adipose tissue (p = 0.001; –0.46). Moreover, there was also a positive correlation between the concentration of E. coli and the skatole levels in the adipose tissue (p = 0.023; 0.33). In conclusion, feeding pigs with H. tuberosus leads to decreased levels of skatole in the adipose tissue. According to the results of our study, a diet with 8.1% H. tuberosus is sufficient for decreasing skatole levels, which could be due to the decreased levels of pathogenic bacteria in the intestines. View Full-Text
Keywords: inulin; skatole; microbiota; Escherichia coli; entire male inulin; skatole; microbiota; Escherichia coli; entire male
MDPI and ACS Style

Okrouhlá, M.; Čítek, J.; Švejstil, R.; Zadinová, K.; Pokorná, K.; Urbanová, D.; Stupka, R. The Effect of Dietary Helianthus tuberosus L. on the Populations of Pig Faecal Bacteria and the Prevalence of Skatole. Animals 2020, 10, 693.

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