Effect of dose of thymol and supplemental flavours or camphor on palatability in a choice feedings study with piglets

https://doi.org/10.17221/5133-CJASCitation:Michiels J., Missotten J., Ovyn A., Dierick N., Fremaut D., De Smet S. (2012):  Effect of dose of thymol and supplemental flavours or camphor on palatability in a choice feedings study with piglets. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 57: 65-74.
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Thymol’s antimicrobial properties urged researchers to study its effect on animal performance and intestinal health in pigs. However, thymol has the characteristic sharp odor of thyme and a bitter, aromatic, and sometimes burning sensation which may elicit feeding aversions. The objectives in the current study were: (1) to determine the effect of dose of thymol and camphor on palatability and (2) to test the hypothesis that supplemental flavours or camphor, the latter as a known Transient Receptor Potential A1 blocker, could mitigate feed avoidance caused by thymol. Two analogous choice-feeding trials were conducted. Feed intake of the test diet was expressed as proportion of the total intake and tested by means of a one-sample Student’s t-test against a set value of 50%. The preference for feed supplemented with 125, 500, 1250 and 2000 mg/kg thymol was 53.7 ± 6.0% (P > 0.05), 47.5 ± 5.1% (P > 0.05), 36.8 ± 4.9% (P = 0.022), and 3.9 ± 7.9% (P = 0.005) respectively. When feed containing 2000 mg/kg thymol with either flavour A (containing intense sweeteners) or flavour B (containing the same intense sweeteners and a caramel aroma) was opposed against a control diet, the relative intake of the test diets was 19.9 ± 5.8% and 14.0 ± 4.9% (both P < 0.05) respectively. When animals were offered one of these test diets and a reference diet with 2000 mg/kg thymol, animals exhibited a preference for the feed with 2000 mg/kg thymol + flavour A, but not for the feed with 2000 mg/kg thymol + flavour B. Thus, supplemental flavours containing intense sweeteners partially overcame feed avoidance caused by thymol which was less pronounced when the caramel aroma was present. Exposure to camphor (50 and 200 mg/kg) did not improve feed preference for a diet containing 1250 mg/kg thymol. Thymol’s bitter taste might be largely responsible for the recorded feed refusal at high inclusion rates.    
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