Effect of substitution of wheat starch by potato starch on the performance, digestive physiology and health of growing rabbits
Authors: Pinheiro, V; Falcão E Cunha, L; Mourão, JL; Gidenne, T
HERO ID: 1454253
The goal of this research was to study the effect of the substitution of wheat starch by potato starch . . .
The goal of this research was to study the effect of the substitution of wheat starch by potato starch (PS) on the performance, health and digestion of growing rabbits. Three experimental diets were formulated with 0%, 7% and 14% PS (PS0, PS7 and PS14, respectively) and similar starch contents (22% dry matter basis), proteins and fibre. The three diets were administered to three groups of 48 rabbits from weaning (28 days) to slaughter (70 days), and growth and health measurements were made. Another 10 rabbits per diet (30 rabbits at each age), reared under similar conditions, were slaughtered at 6 to 10 weeks of age, and the digesta were collected to analyse the caecal microbial activity (pH, volatile fatty acids (VFA) levels, fibrolytic activity) and the starch concentration in the ileal digesta. At the same ages, the whole tract digestibility coefficients were measured in 10 other rabbits for each treatment (30 rabbits). The feed intake between 28 and 42 days of age (days) increased by 11% (P < 0.05) in PS0 v. PS14. Over the whole growth period (28 to 70 days), weight gain was similar among diets (40.5 g/day), whereas the feed intake and feed conversion increased (8.5% and 5.2%, respectively; P < 0.05) with the PS14 diet. Mortality and morbidity were not affected by the diets. The starch concentration of the ileal contents increased (P < 0.01) with the addition of PS to the diet (0.39%, 0.77% and 1.08% for diets PS0, PS7 and PS14, respectively). Starch digestibility was 0.8 percentage units higher (99.8% v. 99.0%) with the PS0 diet than the PS14 diet (P = 0.04). The bacterial cellulolytic activity in the caecum tended to be higher with the PS14 diet (P = 0.07). The total VFA caecal concentration increased (P < 0.01) only in 6-week-old rabbits with PS7 compared with PS0 (54.7 v. 74.5 mmol/l). Protein digestibility and ileal starch concentration decreased (P < 0.05) with age (6 v. 10 weeks), and hemicelluloses digestibility increased (P < 0.05). At 10 weeks of age, rabbits showed a higher VFA pool (6.25 mol) and proportion of butyrate (15.9%) and a lower proportion of acetate (79.3%), ammonia level (7.5 mmol/l) and C3/C4 ratio (0.31) than at 6 weeks of age. The intake of potato starch had no effect on the performance, caecal microbial activity or digestive health of growing rabbits.