Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Preliminary test of the reduction capacity for the intestinal adsorption of skatole and Indole in weaning piglets by pure and coated charcoal


To reduce the risk of boar taint, intact male piglets are immuno- or surgically castrated. One alternative is reducing skatole by adding skatole reducing or adsorbing substances to the boars’ diet. Charcoal with a high capacity for adsorbing skatole and indole in vitro (tested before, data not shown) was fed to the boars to test the hypothesis that a fat coating prevents the unspecific adsorption of charcoal before entry into the large intestine while increasing skatole adsorption. Twelve male and six female weaning piglets with initial body weights of 7.74 ± 0.75 kg were fed for 18 (or 19) days with either 2% pure (untreated) charcoal or 4% coated (50% charcoal + 50% fat-coating) charcoal or no charcoal. After euthanasia, skatole and indole were quantified in caecum and colon chyme. Skatole and indole contents in caecum chyme were significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the group fed with coated charcoal (33 ± 4.2, 7 ± 2.8 µg/gDM, respectively) than in the group fed with pure charcoal (51 ± 7.3, 14 ± 3.0 µg/gDM) or with no charcoal (73 ± 12.6, 15 ± 1.7 µg/gDM). Similar effects were obvious for colon chyme. The results indicate that a fat coating of charcoal might prevent unspecific adsorption in the small intestine and might consequently lead to a higher adsorption capacity for skatole and indole in the large intestine, as skatole and indole concentrations in the chyme of caecum and colon were approximately 50% lower in the piglets who received coated charcoal.


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