Author ORCID Identifier 0000-0003-2812-960X

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal Science

First Advisor

Dr. Merlin D. Lindemann


The objectives of this dissertation were to evaluate dietary boron (B) supplementation as sodium borate in various swine models and broiler chicks through a series of experiments. The initial experiment evaluated supplemental B (0, 25, 50, and 100 ppm B) on serum insulin, glucose, and clinical chemistry panel of growing pigs. Serum insulin/glucose ratio tended to decrease linearly with increasing supplemental B in a fasting state (P = 0.08). These findings were more noticeable (linear effect, P = 0.02) in a postprandial state (~ 50 minutes following a meal). A series of follow-up studies further evaluating B supplementation (0, 5, and 25 ppm B) in sows, piglets, and grower and market pigs were conducted. In multiparous sows, B supplementation tended to result in sows farrowing fewer piglets (quadratic, P = 0.08) yet piglet birth weight was increased quadratically (P ≤ 0.05) with increasing B supplementation. Furthermore, B supplementation to multiparous sows resulted in a quadratic decrease in late gestation (d 80-90 of gestation) fasting serum insulin/glucose ratio (P = 0.02) whereas, in a postprandial state, serum insulin/glucose ratio was linearly increased (P = 0.02) with increasing B supplementation. In the second study, piglets from sows supplemented with dietary B exhibited an increase in the Mg content of the femur (quadratic effect, P = 0.02) at weaning. In the third study, both grower (70 kg BW) and market pigs supplemented with B had a greater kidney ash percentage (linear effect, P = 0.03; linear tendency, P = 0.08, respectively) compared to that of the control. Furthermore, grower pigs exhibited a linear increase in Mg concentration for the 3rd and 4th metacarpals (P = 0.05) with increasing B supplementation. In the final swine study, evaluating B supplementation on the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) and retention of nutrients in growing pigs resulted in a linear increase in both Mg absorption and digestibility regarding increasing B supplementation (P = 0.01 and P = 0.04, respectively). Lastly, an experiment evaluating B supplementation (0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 ppm B) to a semi-purified diet fed to broiler chicks resulted in a linear tendency for increasing tibia ash percentage (P = 0.08) with increasing supplemental B. Additionally, there was a greater tibia Mg concentration of birds supplemented B compared to control birds (P < 0.01). In summation, B supplementation appeared to affect insulin concentration in both grower pigs and sows. Furthermore, B improved Mg absorption and digestibility in growing barrows while also affecting Mg concentrations in the bones of broilers, weaning pigs, and grower pigs, all suggesting B may play a key role in Mg metabolism.

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