Lactose in diet influences the degradation of mixed linked β(1-3;1-4)-D-glucan in the small intestine of pigs

Slowly digestible lactose may reduce β-glucan digestibility in piglet diets.
Monday 4 October 2010 (7 years 6 months 21 days ago)
The objective of the current study was to investigate if lactose in diet would influence the degradation of mixed linked β(1–3;1–4)-D-glucan (β-glucan) in the small intestine. β-glucan is an important cell wall (dietary fiber, DF) component of the endosperm of barley and oats. The digestibility of β-glucan in the small intestine from both cereals is among the highest of all DF components, but in one particular study with oat-based diets it was significantly lower than what was found in other studies. In this study whey protein containing lactose was used as protein supplement. Lactose is slowly digestible in the small intestine. To investigate if lactose could be causative for the lower digestibility of β-glucan in the study with whey protein, it was decided to quantify the content of lactose in the diets and to analyze for lactose in digesta samples from the small intestine (the small intestine was divided in 3 by length equal segments: SI1, SI2, SI3) and ileal digesta along with parameters for organic acids (lactic acids and short-chain fatty acids). Diets containing lactose were based on oat goats, oat flour, and oat bran (lactose 1.2–3.8% of DM), whereas the reference diets were based on rolled oats, rolled oats and oat bran, wheat flour with added oat bran and wheat flour with added β-glucan (lactose 0–0.1% of DM).

Lactose was identified in digesta up to SI2, but disappeared in digesta from SI3 and the ileum. There was no difference in the digestibility of β-glucan among diets up to SI3, whereas the digestibility in ileum was significantly higher in diets without lactose compared with diets containing lactose. With all diets, β-glucan was virtually completely digested in the cecum. No difference was found in the concentration of organic acids between diets either in SI3, ileum or cecum.

In conclusion slowly digestible lactose was the most likely cause of the reduced digestibility of β-glucan in oat diets containing lactose.

KE Bach Knudsen, 2010. Journal of Animal Science, 88, E-Suppl. 2:496.

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