Naturally occurring stable isotope ratios can be a powerful tool in studies of animal nutrition, provided that the assumptions required for dietary reconstruction are validated by studies such as the one presented here. The objective of this study was to document the magnitude of isotopic fractionation between swine diet and their different tissues. For this, the isotopic ratios of carbon and nitrogen of the diet and selected tissues (hair, nail, liver, muscle, fat and cartilage) were determined. The delta13C and delta15N of the diet were -15.9‰ and 1.3‰, respectively, and all delta15N of swine tissues were 2.2 to 3.0‰ enriched in 15N in relation to the diet. Little variation in delta15N occurred among tissues, with exception to liver that was less enriched in 15N than the nail. Nail and hair presented no 13C enrichment relative to diet. Cartilage was ~1.0‰ enriched in 13C as compared to diet. Liver and muscle were on average 2.1‰ more depleted in 13C in relation to diet as well as fat tissues. Some of the C and N isotope ratios of swine tissues differed in organs, but the isotopic fractionation trends among tissues appears to be similar to other mammals. Therefore our data provide a good baseline to interpret stable isotope patterns in domestic mammals (such as swine) in controlled or semi-controlled experiments.
delta13C; delta15N; dietary inputs; domestic pig; isotope ratios