British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Metabolism and Metabolic Studies

Decreasing dietary particle size of lupins increases apparent ileal amino acid digestibility and alters fermentation characteristics in the gastrointestinal tract of pigs

Jae Cheol Kima1 c1, Bruce P. Mullana1, Jung Min Heoa2, Christian F. Hansena2 and John R. Pluskea2

a1 Animal Research and Development, Department of Agriculture and Food, Locked Bag No. 4, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia

a2 Animal Research Institute, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia


Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of lupin particle size on amino acid (AA) and energy digestibility and fermentation characteristics in pigs. Expt 1 examined the effects of lupin variety (cv. Tanjil and Mandelup) and lupin particle size (746, 888, 1099 and 1136 μm) on the total-tract apparent digestibility of dietary components in 63·5 (sd 7·28) kg pigs. While variety had no effect on total-tract apparent digestibility, decreasing particle size of lupins linearly increased total-tract apparent digestibility of crude protein of diets containing 350 g lupins per kg (P < 0·01). Expt 2 examined the effect of lupin particle size (567, 995, 1198, 1250 and 1304 μm) on digestion and fermentation characteristics in 29·8 (sd 2·9) kg pigs. Pigs were fed the respective diets ad libitum for the first 2 weeks and fed at three times maintenance energy level in the third week. Pigs were euthanised under sedation at 46·7 (sd 4·21) kg to collect digesta samples along the intestinal tract. Decreasing particle size increased apparent ileal and total-tract digestible N (P < 0·01) and the apparent and standardised ileal digestible AA content (P < 0·05– < 0·001) of lupins. Decreasing particle size of lupins linearly decreased the molar proportion of straight-chain volatile fatty acids (sum of acetic, propionic and butyric acids; VFAAPB), while branched-chain fatty acids (sum of valeric, caproic, isobutyric and isovaleric acids) were linearly increased (P < 0·001). The results demonstrated that particle size of lupins is a critical factor influencing nutrient, especially AA, utilisation efficiency and fermentation characteristics in the gastrointestinal tract of pigs.

(Received August 14 2008)

(Revised November 19 2008)

(Accepted November 20 2008)

(Online publication January 23 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Jae Cheol Kim, fax +61 8 9474 1295, email


Abbreviations: AA, amino acids; APB, acetic, propionic and butyric acids; BCFA, branched-chain fatty acids; DE, digestible energy; GIT, gastrointestinal tract; SID, standardised ileal digestible; VFA, volatile fatty acids