Kansas Scientists Test Noni as a Feed Additive for Weaners

Noni (Morinda citrifolia) included in complex diets at levels of 0.75 to 3.0 per cent improved the performance of weaned pigs, according to Feoli and colleagues at Kansas State University. They reported four experiments in two papers at the Kansas Swine Day 2008. Jackie Linden, editor of ThePigSite, summarises the findings.
calendar icon 26 June 2009
clock icon 5 minute read

Morinda citrifolia (noni) has been used in Polynesian folk remedies for more than 2,000 years, reported C. Feoli and Kansas State University colleagues, J.D. Hancock and K.C. Behnke. It is thought to have antioxidant, antibiotic, bactericidal and anti-carcinogenic properties and contains phytochemicals that have been suggested to be biologically active, e.g. enhanced immune function, antibiotic-like functions and decreased potential for cancer in laboratory rats.

Swine producers always are searching for means to improve productivity of their pigs and profitability of their operations, and with pressure on the use of antimicrobial growth promoters increasing, 'natural' alternatives are being sought. Because the use of noni in diets for pigs is a relatively new research area, the Kansas researchers designed a total of four experiments to determine the effects of noni on feed preference and growth performance in weaner pigs. They also subjected all the diets to pellet testing.

Preference Study

There was a preference for diets with noni for the first 15 days of the preference study, when pigs (initial weight 9.3 lb) on the test diet with five per cent noni had an average daily feed intake almost twice that of the controls. However, by the end of the 29-day trial, there was only a small numerical advantage in favour of the noni-supplemented diet.

Growth Study 1

The first growth study involved slightly larger pigs (initial weight 14.8 lb). In this trial, pigs receiving the test diet with noni ate less and had lower weights than the controls at the end of the 29-day trial and control diets resulted in similar daily feed intake and final weight.

Growth Study 2

A second growth study was conducted on a larger scale using pigs initially weighing 13.4 lb, and four inclusion levels of noni (0.75 to 6.0 per cent, plus a negative control).

The researchers reported that average daily gain (quadratic effect, P<0.03) and feed to gain (quadratic effect, P<0.10) for days 0 to 7 and feed to gain for days 0 to 21 (quadratic effect, P<0.04) improved as noni concentration in the diet was increased from 0 to 0.75 per cent. However, no treatment effects were observed overall (days 0 to 35).

Growth Study 3

The group then hypothesised that noni might be able to replace some of the expensive ingredients often included in diets for weaner pigs, such as spray-dried animal plasma, milk products and specialised fish meals as well as antibiotics. This would give the product worldwide application.

So they tested noni addition (0 versus three per cent addition) in both simple and complex corn-soy-based diets in a 2 ×2 factorial experiment. The simple diets had the same minimum nutrient specifications as the complex diets but had no added lactose or spray-dried animal plasma for days 0 to 7 and only 10 per cent added whey from days 7 to 21.

Pigs fed simple diets had lower average daily gain (P<0.06) from day 0 to 7, and lower average daily gain and average daily feed intake (P<0.06) for days 0 to 21 than pigs fed complex diets. During days 0 to 35 for average daily gain and days 0 to 21 for feed to gain ratio, the addition of noni to the simple diets had negative effects (diet complexity × noni interaction, P<0.02).

Effects of Noni on Feed Pellet Quality

In the first and third experiments, no differences were noted between the diets for pelleting ease or pellet durability index (PDI). Pellet quality was not assessed in the trial. In the final experiment, pelleting data indicated improved PDI with no additional energy inputs only when noni was added to the simple diets (for days 21 to 35).


Feoli and colleagues said that their experiments suggest a small but positive effect of noni on pellet quality over and above simply adding water into the mixer.

Overall, adding noni growth performance in three of the four experiments but only in the first week or two after weaning.

Further Reading

- You can view other papers presented at the 2008 Kansas Swine Day by clicking here.

June 2009
Sponsored content
© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.