Amino Acids

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 263–270 | Cite as

Dietary supplementation with Astragalus polysaccharide enhances ileal digestibilities and serum concentrations of amino acids in early weaned piglets

  • F. G. Yin
  • Y. L. Liu
  • Y. L. YinEmail author
  • X. F. Kong
  • R. L. Huang
  • T. J. Li
  • G. Y. Wu
  • Yongqing Hou
Original Article


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) on growth performance, apparent ileal digestibilities (AID) of amino acids (AA), and their serum concentrations in early weaned piglets. In Exp. 1, 60 pigs were weaned at 21 days of age (BW 7.35 ± 0.23 kg) and allocated to three treatments (20 pigs/treatment), representing supplementing 0.0% (control), 0.02% colistin (antibiotic), or 0.1% APS to a corn- and soybean meal-based diet. Average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and feed/gain ratio (F/G) were measured weekly. Blood samples were obtained from five pigs selected randomly from each treatment for the measurement of serum free AA concentrations on days 7, 14, and 28. In Exp. 2, 12 pigs were weaned at 21 day of age (BW 7.64 ± 0.71 kg), assigned to three treatment groups as in Exp. 1, and surgically fitted with a simple T-cannula at the terminal ileum. Ileal digesta samples were obtained for the measurement of AID of AA on days 7, 14 and 28. Dietary APS did not affect ADFI, but enhanced (P < 0.05) ADG by 11 and 4.4%, and improved F/G by 5.6 and 8.4%, respectively, compared with the control and antibiotic groups. Addition of APS to the diet increased AID and serum concentrations of most nutritionally essential and non-essential AA (including arginine, proline, glutamate, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, and threonine) on days 14 and 28. Circulating levels of total AA were affected by the age of pigs and treatment × time interaction. Collectively, these findings indicate that APS may ameliorate the digestive and absorptive function and regulate AA metabolism to beneficially increase the entry of dietary AA into the systemic circulation, which provide a mechanism to explain the growth-promoting effect of APS in early weaned piglets.


Amino acids Astragalus polysaccharide Digestibilities Performance Pig 



Amino acid


Astragalus mongholicus


Astragalus polysaccharide


Apparent ileal digestibilities


Average daily gain


Average daily feed intake


Feed/gain ratio



This research was jointly supported by grants from National Basic Research Program of China (2004CB117502), K·C. Wong Education Foundation of Hong Kong, National 863 project (2008AA10Z316), NSFC (30528006; 30671517; 30700581; 30771558; 30371038), National Scientific and Technological Supporting Project (2006BAD12B07; 2006BAD12B02-5-2), The Chinese Academy of Sciences and Knowledge Innovation Project (KZCX3-SW-441; YW-N-022; KSCX2-SW323), Outstanding Overseas Chinese Scholars Fund (2005-1-4), Texas AgriLife Research (H-8200) and. Program for Hubei Chu Tian Scholars.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. G. Yin
    • 1
    • 4
  • Y. L. Liu
    • 2
  • Y. L. Yin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • X. F. Kong
    • 1
  • R. L. Huang
    • 1
  • T. J. Li
    • 1
    • 4
  • G. Y. Wu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Yongqing Hou
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Human Health and Key Laboratory of Agro-EcologyInstitute of Subtropical Agriculture, the Chinese Academy of SciencesChangshaChina
  2. 2.Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed ScienceWuhan Polytechnic UniversityWuhanChina
  3. 3.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.The Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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