The effect of diets based on two different barley varieties, with or without non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) degrading enzymes was evaluated on growth performance, carcass characteristics and fresh thigh quality in Italian heavy growing-finishing pigs. Pigs (64) were assigned to four diets: two diets based on 85% of hulled normal-amylose barley (Cometa, with or without NSP enzyme complex) and two diets based on 85% of hulless low-amylose barley (Alamo, with or without NSP enzyme complex). The diets were formulated according to three growth phases with same lisyne:digestible energy ratio. The NSP enzyme complex did not improve the Cometa and Alamo diets in terms of pig growth performance, carcass characteristics and fresh thigh quality. Throughout the study, the Alamo group had greater (p<0.05) final body weight, average daily gain and gain per megacalorie of digestible energy than the Cometa group. Higher (p<0.05) carcass and thigh weights, and lower (p<0.01) thigh chilling losses were observed for the Alamo group compared with the Cometa group. The Cometa diet decreased (p<0.01) polyunsaturated fatty acids level, and increased (p<0.01) monounsaturated fatty acid content and saturated fatty acids/polyunsaturated fatty acids ratio in subcutaneous fat of fresh thighs. No appreciable differences were observed in the color of subcutaneous fat and biceps femoris of pigs fed the Cometa and Alamo diets. Feeding hulless low-amylose barley to growing-finishing pigs can be valuable to promote growth performance and carcass characteristics. No NSP enzyme complex is needed when hulled normal-amylose barley or hulless low-amylose barley are used in diets for heavy pigs.
- carcass characteristics
- growth performance
- heavy pigs
- non-starch polysaccharides enzymes