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Research r...FinishersTrial report 876

Trial report 876: Effect of 15% dried chicory root in feed for male pigs

15% chicory from 2 wks pre-slaughter reduced skatole in intestines and fat tissue, boar taint in fat tissue and meat, and boar flavour in meat, but did not affect androstenone and boar flavour in fat. Chicory alone cannot eliminate boar taint.

Results revealed that male pigs fed 15% dried chicory root from two weeks before slaughter had lower skatole levels recorded on the slaughter line. Samples of neck fat and loin from approx. 50 pigs from each group were subject to skatole and androstenone analyses using laboratory equipment (HPLC). Compared with the control group, chicory reduced skatole and boar taint in both meat and fat, and boar flavour in meat.  Analyses showed no differences in androstenone and boar flavour in fat between the control pigs and the trial pigs. Boar flavour in meat was reduced compared with control, but not to the same level as for female pigs.

Dried chicory root is fairly expensive (DKK 6.00-7.50 per kg), which caused feed costs to increase by approx. DKK 40-50 per pig when 15% chicory was added to the feed for two weeks before slaughter making it unprofitable to use chicory in feed for male pigs. To determine the optimum way of reducing boar taint through feeding, dosage-response trials are required and other protein sources need to be investigated.

Increased fermentation of carbohydrates reduces the production of skatole in the pigs’ intestines whereby less skatole is embedded in the fatty tissue. Fermentable carbohydrates in pig feed, such as dried chicory root, will affect the fermentation processes in the large intestine, and the bacterial flora that ferment carbohydrates will increase. Tryptophan is used for bacterial growth, and the tryptophan available for production of skatole thereby drops. Tryptophan is a substrate for the production of skatole in pigs’ intestine. Results revealed that the male pigs fed chicory had lower levels of skatole in the caecum and the large intestine compared with the male pigs in the control group. These results and the analyses of other metabolites generally indicate that chicory affects the fermentation pattern in the caecum and the large intestine towards increased fermentation of carbohydrates and reduced production of skatole in the large intestine.

Analyses revealed a significantly positive correlation between boar flavour and the level of skatole in the large intestine, and a trend to a positive correlation between boar taint in the meat and the skatole level in the large intestine.

The type of chicory used in this trial contained 54% inulin (fructans). The diet to which 15% chicory was added had an inulin content of 8.8% and the control diet had an inulin content of 0.8%.


Financial support

The project was financially supported by the Pig Levy Fund and the EU and the Rural Development Programme under the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. Project ID DSP09/10/57 and Journal no. 3663-D-08-00331.

Updated: 08.09.2010


Hanne Maribo

Chief scientist, PhD

Tel.: +45 3339 4390



Chris Claudi Magnussen


Bent Borg Jensen