Researchers Tackle Boar Taint with Artichoke

26 September 2012, at 9:04am

NORWAY - Feeding Jerusalem artichoke to entire male pigs for one week reduced the level of skatole - one of the components involved in boar taint - and changed the gut microflora, reducing numbers of Clostridium perfringens.

Different levels of dried Jerusalem artichoke were fed to entire male pigs one week before slaughter in an an experiment at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås. In a paper published in the journal, Animal, S.G. Vhile and colleagues explain that the objective of the work was to investigate the effect on skatole level in the hindgut and in adipose tissue, as well as the effect on microflora and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in the hindgut.

Five experimental groups, each of 11 pigs, were given different dietary treatments seven days before slaughter: negative control (basal diet), positive control (basal diet + 9.0 per cent chicory-inulin), basal diet + 4.1 per cent Jerusalem artichoke, basal diet + 8.1 per cent Jerusalem artichoke and basal diet + 12.2 per cent Jerusalem artichoke.

Samples from colon, rectum, faeces and adipose tissue were collected. The effects of dietary treatment were evaluated on skatole, indole and androstenone levels in adipose tissue and on skatole, indole, pH, dry matter, microbiota and short-chain fatty acids in the hindgut.

Feeding increasing levels of Jerusalem artichoke to entire male pigs reduced skatole in digesta from colon and in faeces in a linear manner. There was also a tendency towards a decreased level of skatole in adipose tissue, also in a linear manner.

Feeding Jerusalem artichoke decreased dry matter content in colon and faeces and pH in colon. Increasing levels of Jerusalem artichoke resulted in a reduced level of Clostridium perfringens in both colon and rectum and a tendency towards decreased levels of enterobacteria in colon. Furthermore, there was an increase in total amount of short-chain fatty acids, acetic acid and valerianic acid in faeces.

In their conclusion, Vhile and colleagues say thay adding dried Jerusalem artichoke to diets for entire male pigs one week before slaughter resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in skatole levels in the hindgut and adipose tissue. The reduced skatole levels might be related to the decrease in C. perfringens and the increase in SCFA with subsequent reduction in pH.


Vhile S.G., Kjos N.P., Sørum H. and Overland M. 2012. Feeding Jerusalem artichoke reduced skatole level and changed intestinal microbiota in the gut of entire male pigs. Animal, 6(5):807-814.

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