An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that formulating diets for pigs based on a ratio between standardized total tract digestible (STTD) Ca and STTD P instead of total Ca and STTD P does not decrease Ca retention, but increases P utilization. Forty barrows (59.4 ± 3.8 kg) were individually housed in metabolism crates and allotted to four corn-soybean meal-based diets in a randomized complete block design with two blocks and five pigs per diet in each block. Diets were formulated using a 2 × 2 factorial design with two diet formulation principles (total Ca or STTD Ca) and two inclusion levels of microbial phytase (0 or 500 units per kg of feed). Phytase was assumed to release 0.11% STTD P and 0.16% total Ca. Diets were formulated based on requirements for total Ca and STTD P or a ratio between STTD Ca and STTD P of 1.25:1. Diets were fed for 11 d and fecal and urine samples were collected from feed provided from day 6 to day 10. Interactions (P < 0.05) between diet formulation principle and phytase level were observed for Ca intake, Ca in feces, Ca absorbed, Ca retained, P digestibility, P absorbed, and P in urine. Phytase increased (P < 0.05) the digestibility of Ca in both total Ca and STTD Ca diets. Without phytase, Ca intake, Ca in feces, and Ca absorbed was greater (P < 0.05) from pigs fed total Ca diets than from pigs fed STTD Ca diets, but P absorbed, P digestibility, and P in urine was greater (P < 0.05) from pigs fed STTD Ca diets than from pigs fed total Ca diets. However, in the presence of phytase, no differences between diet formulation principles were observed in these variables. Regardless of phytase, Ca in urine was lower (P < 0.05) from pigs fed STTD Ca diets than from pigs fed total Ca diets. There were no differences in Ca retention between pigs fed STTD Ca diets and total Ca diets, but pigs fed total Ca diets retained less (P < 0.05) Ca if diets contained phytase. No differences in P retention were observed between diet formulation principles, but pigs fed non-phytase diets retained more (P < 0.05) P than pigs fed diets with phytase. In conclusion, because diets formulated based on STTD Ca contain less Ca than total Ca diets, pigs fed STTD Ca diets excreted less Ca in urine, but retention of Ca was not affected. Formulating non-phytase diets based on STTD Ca instead of total Ca increased P absorption, which confirms the detrimental effect of excess Ca on P digestibility. However, P retention was not improved if pigs were fed STTD Ca diets.
- digestible calcium
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