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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Forsythia Suspense Extract as an Antibiotics Substitute on Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Serum Antioxidant Capacity, Fecal Escherichia coli Concentration and Intestinal Morphology of Weaned Piglets

State Key laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These two authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2019, 9(10), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100729
Received: 30 August 2019 / Revised: 20 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 26 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pig Nutrition)
Weaning stress may reduce feed intake, weight gain and health status of piglets. Antibiotics are used to overcome post-weaning disorders. However, the abuse of antibiotics in pig feed has become a worldwide problem. Previous studies show Chinese herbs have been used as a potential non-antibiotic way to enhance anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial functions of piglets. This study aims to evaluate the effect of Forsythia suspense extract (FSE) as an antibiotics substitute on performance, nutrient digestibility, serum antioxidant capacity, fecal Escherichia coli concentration and intestinal morphology of weaned piglets. The results show that dietary FSE supplementation can substitute antibiotics in improving antioxidant capacity, nutrients digestibility and reducing fecal E. coli content, so as to reduce nitrogen output and diarrhea rate, and eventually enhance growth performance in weaned piglets.
The aim of this study is to determine the efficiency of Forsythia suspense extract (FSE) as an antibiotics substitute on performance, nutrient digestibility, serum antioxidant capacity, fecal Escherichia coli concentration and intestinal morphology of weaned piglets. A total of 108 Duroc × (Landrace × Yorkshire) weaned piglets (28 days (d) weaned, average body weight of 8.68 ± 1.36 kg) were randomly assigned into three dietary treatments, six pens per treatment, three barrows and three gilts per pen. The treatments contained a corn-soybean meal basal diet (CTR), an antibiotic diet (basal diet + 75 mg/kg chlortetracycline; CTC), and an FSE diet (basal diet + 200 mg/kg FSE; FSE). The experiment included phase 1 (d 1 to 14), phase 2 (d 15 to 28) and phase 3 (d 29 to 35). Compared with CTR, piglets fed FSE show improved (p < 0.05) average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake in phase 2, as well as enhanced (p < 0.05) ADG from day 15 to 35 and day 1 to 28. Piglets supplemented with CTC and FSE showed a reduced (p < 0.05) diarrhea rate in phase 1, while piglets fed FSE showed enhanced (p < 0.05) apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein and gross energy, as well as lower (p < 0.05) nitrogen output in phase 2 compared with CTR and CTC. The content in the form of Colony-Forming Units (CFUs) of fecal E. coli on day 14 and 28 was lower (p < 0.05) in piglets fed FSE in comparison with CTR. The contents of total antioxidant capacity, superoxide dismutase and catalase in serum are enhanced (p < 0.05) compared with CTR and CTC, whereas the concentration of malondialdehyde in serum was decreased (p < 0.05) for piglets fed FSE on day 28 compared with CTC. The villus height to crypt depth ratio in ileum was numerically higher (p < 0.05) in piglets fed FSE in comparison with CTR. In conclusion, dietary FSE supplementation could substitute CTC in improving antioxidant capacity, nutrients digestibility and reducing fecal E. coli content, so as to reduce nitrogen output and diarrhea rate, and eventually improve performance in weaned piglets. View Full-Text
Keywords: Forsythia suspense extract; performance; serum antioxidant status; Escherichia coli Forsythia suspense extract; performance; serum antioxidant status; Escherichia coli
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MDPI and ACS Style

Long, S.; Liu, L.; Liu, S.; Mahfuz, S.; Piao, X. Effects of Forsythia Suspense Extract as an Antibiotics Substitute on Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Serum Antioxidant Capacity, Fecal Escherichia coli Concentration and Intestinal Morphology of Weaned Piglets. Animals 2019, 9, 729.

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