Effects of Benzoic Acid and Dietary Calcium:Phosphorus Ratio on Performance and Mineral Metabolism of Weanling Pigs

  • Gutzwiller, A. (Federal Research Institute Agroscope) ;
  • Schlegel, P. (Federal Research Institute Agroscope) ;
  • Guggisberg, D. (Federal Research Institute Agroscope) ;
  • Stoll, P. (Federal Research Institute Agroscope)
  • Received : 2013.08.22
  • Accepted : 2013.11.19
  • Published : 2014.04.01


In a $2{\times}2$ factorial experiment the hypotheses tested were that the metabolic acid load caused by benzoic acid (BA) added to the feed affects bone mineralization of weanling pigs, and that a wide dietary calcium (Ca) to phosphorus (P) ratio in phytase-supplemented feeds with a marginal P concentration has a positive effect on bone mineralization. The four experimental diets, which contained 0.4% P and were supplemented with 1,000 FTU phytase/kg, contained either 5 g BA/kg or no BA and either 0.77% Ca or 0.57% Ca. The 68 four-week-old Large White pigs were fed the experimental diets ad libitum for six weeks and were then slaughtered. Benzoic acid increased feed intake (p = 0.009) and growth rate (p = 0.051), but did not influence the feed conversion ratio (p>0.10). Benzoic acid decreased the pH of the urine (p = 0.031), but did not affect breaking strength and mineralization of the tibia (p>0.10). The wide Ca:P ratio decreased feed intake (p = 0.034) and growth rate (p = 0.007) and impaired feed the conversion ratio (p = 0.027), but increased the mineral concentration in the fat-free DM of the tibia (p = 0.013) without influencing its breaking strength (p>0.10). The observed positive effect of the wide Ca:P ratio on bone mineralization may be attributed, at least in part, to the impaired feed conversion ratio, i.e. to the higher feed intake and consequently to the higher mineral intake per kg BW gain. The negative impact on animal performance of the wide dietary Ca:P ratio outweighs its potentially positive effect on bone mineralization, precluding its implementation under practical feeding conditions.


Benzoic Acid;Calcium;Bone Characteristics;Pig


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