Palatability of extruded dog diets supplemented with Ascophyllum nodosum L. (Fucaceae, Phaeophyceae)

  • Marco Isidori
  • Fabrizio Rueca
  • Massimo Trabalza-MarinucciEmail author


Although Ascophyllum nodosum, a brown seaweed (Phaeophyceae) of the family Fucaceae, is widely used in companion animal products, few studies have attempted to evaluate its influence on foodstuff palatability. This study investigated the effect of A. nodosum on extruded dog food palatability using the split-plate test. Eleven naїve dogs were used. Ascophyllum nodosum (AN) palatability was evaluated across separate tests for three pairwise comparisons between a control extruded food (CTR) and two experimental foods, obtained by adding A. nodosum at low (0.3%, AN-low) or high (1.0%, AN-high) concentrations to the CTR food. Food intake within the first 5 min and first choice eating behaviour was recorded. Differences in food consumption were only registered where the CTR and the AN-high foods were compared (21.11 vs. 7.62 g kg−1 BW0.75; P < 0.001). The intake ratio, calculated as consumed food (A/A + B), confirmed this trend (0.75 vs. 0.28; P < 0.001). No differences were found in first choice behaviour in any palatability test. The results suggest that A. nodosum shows an inhibiting and dose-dependent effect on the dogs dry matter intake. Data obtained from the first choice behaviour evaluation also indicate that negative effects exerted by A. nodosum on palatability are primarily related to gustatory factors rather than to olfactory stimuli.


Dog food First choice Intake ratio Obvious choice test Preference test Seaweed 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Gabriele Mannucci and Landini Giuntini S.p.A. for providing the experimental diets. They are also grateful to Mrs. Marzia Bellon for her valuable support during the experiment and to Dr. Andrea Giontella for his high quality contribution in statistical elaboration of the data.

Compliance with ethical standards

The present study was approved by the Ethics Committee of The University of Perugia (2018-04R). Operative procedures and animal care were performed in compliance with the current legislation on companion animal welfare (Law N. 281 of 14 August 1991; Regional Law N. 10 of 17 August 2016). Operators involved in the trial received appropriate training with respect to safety procedures and animal well-being.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Aldrich GC, Koppel K (2015) Pet food palatability evaluation: a review of standard assay techniques and interpretation of results with a primary focus on limitations. Animals (Basel) 5:43–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen VG, Pond KR, Saker KE, Fontenot JP, Bagley CP, Ivy RL, Evans RR, Brown CP, Miller MF, Montgomery JL, Dettle TM, Wester DB (2001a) Tasco-forage: III. Influence of a seaweed extract on performance, monocyte immune cell response, and carcass characteristics in feedlot-finished steers. J Anim Sci 79:1032–1040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen VG, Pond KR, Saker KE, Fontenot JP, Bagley CP, Ivy RL, Evans RR, Schmidt RE, Fike JH, Zhang X, Ayad JY, Brown CP, Miller MF, Montgomery JL, Mahan J, Wester DB, Melton C (2001b) Tasco: influence of a brown seaweed on antioxidants in forages and livestock—a review. J Anim Sci 79:E21–EE3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Araujo JA, Studzinski CM, Larson BT, Milgram NW (2004) Comparison of the cognitive palatability assessment protocol and the two-pan test for use in assessing palatability of two similar foods in dogs. Am J Vet Res 65:1490–1496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Association of Official Analytical Chemists (2012) Official methods of analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists, 19th rev. edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  6. Bourgeois H, Elliot D, Marniquet P, Soulard Y (2006) Dietary behavior of dogs and cats. Bull l’Acad Vét France 4:301–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Braden KW, Blanton JR, Allen VG, Pond KR, Miller MF (2004) Ascophyllum nodosum supplementation: a preharvest intervention for reducing Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. in feedlot steers. J Food Prot 67:1824–1828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bradshaw JWS (2006) The evolutionary basis for the feeding behavior of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and cats (Felis catus). J Nutr 136:1927S–1931SCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dell’Antonio G, Quattrini A, Cin ED, Fulgenzi A, Ferrero ME (2002) Relief of inflammatory pain in rats by local use of the selective P2X7 ATP receptor inhibitor, oxidized ATP. Arthritis Rheum 46:3378–3385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dutot M, Fagon R, Hemon M, Rat P (2012) Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-senescence activities of a phlorotannin-rich natural extract from brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 167:2234–2240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ellouali M, Boisson-Vidal C, Durand P, Jozefonvicz J (1993) Antitumor activity of low molecular weight fucans extracted from brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum. Anticancer Res 13:2011–2019Google Scholar
  12. Evans FD, Critchley AT (2014) Seaweeds for animal production use. J Appl Phycol 26:891–899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fike JH, Allen VG, Schmidt RE, Zhang X, Fontenot JP, Bagley CP, Ivy RL, Evans RR, Coelho RW, Wester DB (2001) Tasco-forage: I. Influence of a seaweed extract on antioxidant activity in tall fescue and in ruminants. J Anim Sci 79:1011–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gawor J, Jank M, Jodkowska K, Klim E, Svensson UK (2018) Effects of edible treats containing Ascophyllum nodosum on the oral health of dogs: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled single-center study. Front Vet Sci 5:168Google Scholar
  15. Griffin R (2003) Palatability testing methods: parameters and analyses that influence test conditions. In: Petfood Technology, 1st edn. Watt Publishing Co., Mt. Morris, IL, pp 187–193Google Scholar
  16. Griffin RW, Scott GC, Cante CJ (1984) Food preferences of dogs housed in testing-kennels and in consumers’ homes: some comparisons. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 8:253–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. MacArtain P, Gill CIR, Brooks M, Campbell R, Rowland IR (2007) Nutritional value of edible seaweeds. Nutr Rev 65:535–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Martirosyan DM, Singh J (2015) A new definition of functional food by FFC: what makes a new definition unique? Funct Foods Health Dis 5:209–223Google Scholar
  19. Merrill AL, Watt BK (1973) Energy value of foods: basis and derivation. Agriculture Handbook No. 74. US Dept of Agriculture, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  20. Mordor Intelligence Report (2018a) Pet food market—analysis of growth, trends, and forecast (2018–2023). Accessed 12 June 2018
  21. Mordor Intelligence Report (2018b) Pet food nutraceutical market—segmented by pet type, function, ingredient, and geography—growth, trends and forecast (2018–2023). Accessed 12 June 2018
  22. National Research Council (2006) Nutrient requirements of dogs and cats. National Academies Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  23. Nwosu F, Morris J, Lund VA, Stewart D, Ross HA, McDougall GJ (2011) Anti-proliferative and potential anti-diabetic effects of phenolic-rich extracts from edible marine algae. Food Chem 126:1006–1012CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pétel C, Baron C, Thomsen M, Callejon L, Péron F (2018) A new method to assess the influence of odor on food selection in dogs. J Sens Stud 33:e12311. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ramnani P, Chitarrari R, Tuohy K, Grant J, Hotchkiss S, Philp K, Campbell R, Gill C, Rowland I (2012) In vitro fermentation and prebiotic potential of novel low molecular weight polysaccharides derived from agar and alginate seaweeds. Anaerobe 18:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. R Core Team (2018) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  27. Riou D, Colliec-Jouault S, Pinczon du Sel D, Bosch S, Siavoshian S, Le Bert V, Tomasoni C, Sinquin C, Durand P, Roussakis C (1996) Antitumor and antiproliferative effects of a fucan extracted from Ascophyllum nodosum against a non-small-cell bronchopulmonary carcinoma line. Anticancer Res 16:1213–1218Google Scholar
  28. Saker KE, Allen VG, Fontenot JP, Bagley CP, Ivy RL, Evans RR, Wester DB (2001) Tasco-forage: II. Monocyte immune cell response and performance of beef steers grazing tall fescue treated with a seaweed extract. J Anim Sci 79:1022–1031CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Saker KE, Fike JH, Veit H, Ward DL (2004) Brown seaweed- (Tasco) treated conserved forage enhances antioxidant status and immune function in heat-stressed wether lambs. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr 88:122–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thombre AG (2004) Oral delivery of medications to companion animals: palatability considerations. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 56:1399–1413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tobie C, Péron F, Larose C (2015) Assessing food preferences in dogs and cats: a review of the current methods. Animals 5:126–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Turner JL, Dritz SS, Higgins JJ, Minton JE (2002) Effects of Ascophyllum nodosum extract on growth performance and immune function of young pigs challenged with Salmonella typhimurium. J Anim Sci 80:1947–1953CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wackermannová M, Pinc L, Jebavý L (2016) Olfactory sensitivity in mammalian species. Physiol Res 65:369–390Google Scholar
  34. Wang Y, Xu Z, Bach SJ, McAllister TA (2009) Sensitivity of Escherichia coli to seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) phlorotannins and terrestrial tannins. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci 22:238–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wikner S, Bonello D, Miolo A (2010) Effect of Ascophyllum nodosum on halitosis, plaque and gingivitis—a controlled clinical trial in dogs. Proceedings of the 19th European Congress of Veterinary Dentistry, Nice, France, pp 132–134Google Scholar
  36. Zhang J, Tiller C, Shen J, Wang C, Girouard GS, Dennis D, Barrow CJ, Miao M, Ewart HS (2007) Antidiabetic properties of polysaccharide- and polyphenolic-enriched fractions from the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 85:1116–1123CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Medicina VeterinariaUniversità degli Studi di PerugiaPerugiaItaly

Personalised recommendations