Special Issue "Pig Welfare, Immunity and Health - Implications and Applications in Sustainable Production"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Pigs".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Volker Stefanski
Website
Guest Editor
Behavioral Physiology of Livestock, Institute of Animal Science, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
Interests: behavioral physiology of livestock
Dr. Galia Zamaratskaia
Website
Guest Editor
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular Sciences, Box 7015 750 07 Uppsala, Schweden
Interests: factors regulating boar taint; cytochrome P450: activity and regulation in various species; implication for food; food and health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pig production faces substantial challenges in the future, as increasing public concern about animal welfare collides with traditional production goals. Modern sustainable pork production thus includes animal health and welfare issues in addition to other pillars of sustainability. Immunocompetence and health of pigs are essential for animal welfare but can be threatened by inappropriate housing, environmental conditions or nutrition. A good function of the immune system is an obvious prerequisite for fighting pathogens, appropriate gut–microbiota interaction or successful vaccinations with important implications for disease control and immunocastration. This Special Issue aims to illuminate current integrative research on pig welfare, behavior, stress, nutrition, and immunity under varying conventional and organic housing conditions. Further, research gaps and trends should be identified by either original work or reviews.

Prof. Volker Stefanski
Dr. Galia Zamaratskaia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • pig production
  • animal welfare
  • sustainable pork production
  • health
  • stress
  • behavior
  • nutrition
  • microbiota
  • immune system
  • vaccination
  • immunocastration
  • conventional, organic or stressful housing

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Different Amounts of Hybrid Barley in Diets on the Growth Performance and Selected Biochemical Parameters of Blood Serum Characterizing Health Status in Fattening Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(11), 1987; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10111987 - 29 Oct 2020
Abstract
The aim of the study was to determine the effect of dietary hybrid barley and/or wheat on production parameters, selected biochemical parameters of blood serum characterizing health status in fattening pigs. In group I, hybrid barley constituted 80% of feed; in II—wheat and [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to determine the effect of dietary hybrid barley and/or wheat on production parameters, selected biochemical parameters of blood serum characterizing health status in fattening pigs. In group I, hybrid barley constituted 80% of feed; in II—wheat and hybrid barley were used, each in amount of 40% feed; in III—contained 80% of wheat. No significant differences were noted in case of performance results (body weight gains, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio) and meatiness of fatteners. All estimated biochemical indices determined in serum were within normal range. Usage of 80% hybrid barley decreased concentration of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein fraction (LDL), and triglycerides in blood (p < 0.05). However, high-density lipoprotein fraction (HDL) content increased (p < 0.01) up to 1.04 mmol·dm−3, comparing to the group with 80% of wheat (0.84 mmol·dm−3). Summarized, the diet with high level of barley had a beneficial effect on blood lipid indices, what indicate a good health status of all animals. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Health Risk Perception, Consumption Intention, and Willingness to Pay for Pig Products Obtained by Immunocastration
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091548 - 01 Sep 2020
Abstract
Surgical castration without the use of anaesthesia and/or analgesia is considered to be detrimental for the welfare of pigs and for this reason its abandonment is advocated. Immunocastration is a more welfare-friendly alternative method; however, stakeholders in the pork sector fear consumer rejection [...] Read more.
Surgical castration without the use of anaesthesia and/or analgesia is considered to be detrimental for the welfare of pigs and for this reason its abandonment is advocated. Immunocastration is a more welfare-friendly alternative method; however, stakeholders in the pork sector fear consumer rejection due to perceived safety issues of immunocastrated meat. This work aimed to analyse whether Italian consumers perceive a health risk arising from the use of this technique and, if so, how the perceived risk may influence the purchase choices and the willingness to pay for products derived from immunocastrated animals. To achieve this objective, a survey was carried out on a representative sample of the Italian population. The results highlight that consumers perceive different levels of risk related to the use of immunocastration and that this influences purchasing behaviour and willingness to pay. Moreover, it should be noted that the willingness to pay is also influenced by certain demographic factors, since this is positively associated with younger respondents with lower incomes and less knowledge of farming systems, who live in rural areas and have a greater sensitivity to animal welfare. Given the concerns expressed by consumers, particular attention must be paid to the information transmitted if this technology will be widely implemented in pig husbandry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Addition of a Mixture of Plant Extracts to Diets for Growing-Finishing Pigs on Growth Performance, Blood Metabolites, Carcass Traits, Organ Weight as a Percentage of Live Weight, Quality and Sensorial Analysis of Meat
Animals 2020, 10(7), 1229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071229 - 20 Jul 2020
Abstract
The effect of plant extracts (PE; artichoke, celery, beet, onion, garlic, spinach, avocado, oats, and parsley) in the diet of growing pigs under heat stress was investigated. Parameters included growth performance, blood constituents, carcass characteristics, organ percentage, quality and sensory appraisal of the [...] Read more.
The effect of plant extracts (PE; artichoke, celery, beet, onion, garlic, spinach, avocado, oats, and parsley) in the diet of growing pigs under heat stress was investigated. Parameters included growth performance, blood constituents, carcass characteristics, organ percentage, quality and sensory appraisal of the pork. The study was performed during the Mexican summer, using 60 pigs. Treatments included the control, to which 0.1% PE, and 0.15% PE were added. The use of PE (0.1 and 0.15%) generated an increase in the average daily gain (ADG, by 10.0% for both treatments), and final live weight (LW, by 6.3% and 6.8%) (p < 0.05). The level of blood albumin at 95 kg was higher when supplementing with 0.1% PE (p < 0.05). At 120 kg LW, creatine kinase values showed a tendency to be different (p = 0.07). Carcass weight increased (p < 0.05) when adding PE. Supplementation with 0.1% PE decreased (p < 0.05) the red/green (a *) hue of the meat, whereas supplementation with 0.1% and 0.15% PE increased the yellow/blue (b *) hue (p < 0.05). The addition of PE improves pig growth performance, and carcass weight by reducing the negative effects of heat stress, without markedly modifying blood constituents, meat quality, and sensory attributes of the pork. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vaccination Is a Suitable Tool in the Control of Aujeszky’s Disease Outbreaks in Pigs Using a Population Dynamics P Systems Model
Animals 2020, 10(5), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050909 - 24 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Aujeszky’s disease is one of the main pig viral diseases and results in considerable economic losses in the pork production industry. The disease can be controlled using preventive measures such as improved stock management and vaccination throughout the pig-rearing period. We developed a [...] Read more.
Aujeszky’s disease is one of the main pig viral diseases and results in considerable economic losses in the pork production industry. The disease can be controlled using preventive measures such as improved stock management and vaccination throughout the pig-rearing period. We developed a stochastic model based on Population Dynamics P systems (PDP) models for a standard pig production system to differentiate between the effects of pig farm management regimes and vaccination strategies on the control of Aujeszky’s disease under several different epidemiological scenarios. Our results suggest that after confirming the diagnosis, early vaccination of most of the population (>75%) is critical to decrease the spread of the virus and minimize its impact on pig productivity. The direct economic cost of an outbreak of Aujeszky’s disease can be extremely high on a previously uninfected farm (from 352–792 Euros/sow/year) and highlights the positive benefits of investing in vaccination measures to control infections. We demonstrate the usefulness of computational models as tools in the evaluation of preventive medicine programs aimed at limiting the impact of disease on animal production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influences of Enzyme Blend Supplementation on Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Fecal Microbiota and Meat-Quality in Grower-Finisher Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(3), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030386 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The study was aimed to evaluate the effects of dietary inclusion of an enzyme blend on growth performance, apparent total track digestibility (ATTD) of dry matter (DM), nitrogen (N), gross energy (GE), fecal microbial population, noxious gas emissions and meat quality of pigs [...] Read more.
The study was aimed to evaluate the effects of dietary inclusion of an enzyme blend on growth performance, apparent total track digestibility (ATTD) of dry matter (DM), nitrogen (N), gross energy (GE), fecal microbial population, noxious gas emissions and meat quality of pigs fed corn–soybean meal-based diets for a 16-week feeding trial. A total of 180 growing pigs (body weight of 23.3 ± 2.51 kg) were used and randomly allotted to one of three dietary treatments (positive control (PC, basal diet); negative control (NC, −150 kcal/kg of PC); A1 (NC + 1% enzyme blend)). Overall, dietary inclusion of the enzyme blend increased (p < 0.05) body weight, average daily gain and gain:feed ratio without effecting average daily feed intake. An increase was observed in ATTD of DM (p = 0.027) and GE (p = 0.026) at week 16 and 6, respectively. Dietary inclusion of the enzyme blend increased the beneficial effects on fecal microbiota counts such as Lactobacillus with a reduced presence of E. coli during the entire experiment (p < 0.05). Further, positive effects (p < 0.05) were observed on back-fat thickness and carcass weight of pigs, along with the results of reduced levels of NH3 emissions (p = 0.032) at week 16. Thus, the study suggested that the dietary enzyme blend supplement had improving effects on growth performance, ATTD of nutrients, fecal microbial counts and meat quality in pigs. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Fermented Tea Residue on Fattening Performance, Meat Quality, Digestive Performance, Serum Antioxidant Capacity, and Intestinal Morphology in Fatteners
Animals 2020, 10(2), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020185 - 22 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study investigated the dietary supplementation of tea residue fermented by Bacillus subtilis, Aspergillus niger, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to explore its effects on growth performance, digestion performance, meat quality, serum antioxidant capacity, and intestinal morphology in pigs bred for rapid [...] Read more.
This study investigated the dietary supplementation of tea residue fermented by Bacillus subtilis, Aspergillus niger, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to explore its effects on growth performance, digestion performance, meat quality, serum antioxidant capacity, and intestinal morphology in pigs bred for rapid growth, also known as fatteners. One hundred and ninety-two healthy “Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire” ternary hybrid pigs (body weight 70 ± 1.0 kg) were randomly divided into four groups according to the feeding test requirements, with four replicates in each group, and 12 fatteners per replicate. The control group (CG) was fed the basal diet. Treatments 1 (T1), 2 (T2), and 3 (T3), comprising ratios of 10%, 15%, and 20% of tea residue were added to the basal diet. The test period was 60 days. The results showed that supplementation of FTR in fatteners’ diets increased final body weight (FBW), average daily gain (ADG), and feed conversion ratio (FCR) in the T1 and T2 groups (p < 0.05). Compared with the other groups, the lightness (L*) and pH were significantly affected in the T2 group (p < 0.05). Compared with the CG, dietary supplementation of FTR significantly increased the nutrient digestibility of crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), calcium (Ca), and phosphorus (P), improved the lipase and trypsin activities, and reduced drip loss and the shear force of fatteners (p < 0.05). Glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) were significantly increased in the T2 and T3 groups compared with the other groups (p < 0.05). Supplementation of FTR in the jejunum significantly increased the villi height of the T2 group and the ratio of villi height to crypt depth of the FTR groups. Compared with the other two groups, the T2 and T3 groups significantly reduced the ratio of the villous height to crypt depth in the duodenum (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the tea residue after fermentation was shown to have beneficial effects on the fattening performance, digestion performance, meat quality, serum antioxidant capacity, and intestinal morphology of fatteners. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Dietary Supplementation with Flammulina velutipes Stem Waste on Growth Performance, Fecal Short Chain Fatty Acids and Serum Profile in Weaned Piglets
Animals 2020, 10(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010082 - 03 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary FVS supplementation on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, biochemical profile of serum and fecal short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production in weaned piglets. In Exp.1, 150 weaned pigs (initial body weight: 6.89 ± 1.17 [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary FVS supplementation on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, biochemical profile of serum and fecal short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) production in weaned piglets. In Exp.1, 150 weaned pigs (initial body weight: 6.89 ± 1.17 kg) were allotted to five dietary treatments. The treatment diets included a basal diet and four experimental diets supplemented with 2.5%, 5.0%, 7.5% and 10.0% FVS respectively. The animal trial lasted for 28 days. In Exp.2, 72 piglets (initial body weight: 8.20 ± 1.67 kg) were allotted to three dietary treatments. The treatment diets included a basal diet and two experimental diets supplemented with 1.5% and 3.0% FVS, respectively. The animal trial lasted for 56 days. The results showed that pigs fed dietary FVS with 3% or lower inclusion levels had no significant difference (p > 0.10) on growth performance compared with pigs fed the control diet during day 1–28 and day 1–56. Dietary FVS supplementation decreased the apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of nutrients on day 28, day 35 and day 56, but no significant changes (p > 0.05) of nutrient digestibility were observed on day 14. Although piglets fed diets with higher levels of FVS showed impaired growth performance and ATTD of nutrients, dietary FVS supplementation improved the fecal SCFA production, antioxidant capacity, interleukin-2 and growth hormone levels in serum, and reduced the harmful low-density lipoprotein levels in serum on day 56. In conclusion, as a promising alternative fibrous ingredient, FVS could be supplemented in diets of weaned piglets with a proportion under 3%. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Dietary Supplementation with Mulberry (Morus alba L.) Leaf Polysaccharides on Immune Parameters of Weanling Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010035 - 23 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this study, the effect of dietary supplementation of mulberry leaf polysaccharides (MLPs) on the immune parameters—i.e., the immune organ weight, serum immunoglobulins, cytokines, nitric oxide (NO) production, and insulin-Like growth factor-1 (IGF1) mRNA expression—of weanling pigs as a model animal [...] Read more.
In this study, the effect of dietary supplementation of mulberry leaf polysaccharides (MLPs) on the immune parameters—i.e., the immune organ weight, serum immunoglobulins, cytokines, nitric oxide (NO) production, and insulin-Like growth factor-1 (IGF1) mRNA expression—of weanling pigs as a model animal was investigated. A total of 120 healthy weanling pigs (aged 28 ± 2 d) with the same body weights were randomly divided into four groups: (1) Control treatment (CT), basal diet (BD), (2) MLP low-dose treatment (MLT), 0.6 g/kg MLP + BD, (3) MLP high-dose treatment (MHT), 1.2 g/kg MLP + BD, and (4) antibiotic treatment (AT), 0.15 g/kg chlortetracycline + BD. The results revealed that the thymus and spleen indices were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in both MLT and MHT groups in comparison with the CT group, while the serum levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-8, and interferon (IFN-γ) in the MLT group and IL-2, IL-6, and IFN-γ in the MHT group were also considerably greater (P < 0.05) than the corresponding levels in the CT group. The serum contents of IgG, IL-1β, IL-2, and IL-8 in the MLT group and IL-2 and IL-6 in the MHT group were significantly increased in comparison with the corresponding contents in the AT group (P < 0.05). The transformation rate of lymphocytes in the MLT and MHT groups was higher compared to the CT and AT groups. However, a notable difference was found between the MLT group and the two control groups. The peripheral lymphocyte NO production in the MLT, MHT, and AT groups was significant relative to the CT group. The expression levels of IGF1 mRNA in the liver and muscle longissimus tissues of both the MLT and MHT groups showed significant improvement (P < 0.05) over those in the CT group. Moreover, the IGF1 mRNA expression in the muscle longissimus from the MLT group was significantly higher than in the AT group. In conclusion, the results suggest that incorporating MLPs into the diets of weanling pigs improves the animals’ metabolisms and immune functions, and the effects of the MLT group were superior to those of both the MHT and AT groups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Housing Conditions on Reliability of Immunocastration and Consequences for Growth Performance of Male Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010027 - 21 Dec 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Immunocastration is a sustainable alternative to piglet castration but faces limited market acceptance. The phenomenon of non-responders has not to date been examined in detail, but adverse and stressful housing conditions (e.g., mixing of groups) might impair the success of vaccinations. Therefore, we [...] Read more.
Immunocastration is a sustainable alternative to piglet castration but faces limited market acceptance. The phenomenon of non-responders has not to date been examined in detail, but adverse and stressful housing conditions (e.g., mixing of groups) might impair the success of vaccinations. Therefore, we evaluated the influence of housing conditions on the immune response after two Improvac® vaccinations at an age of 12 and 22 weeks, respectively. Boars, immunocastrates and barrows (n = 48 each) were assigned to three different housing conditions (n = 36 enriched, n = 36 standard n = 72 repeated social mixing). Immune response was quantified by measuring GnRH-binding and its consequences for testosterone concentrations, development of the genital tract and boar taint. Growth performance was evaluated via average daily gain (ADG). GnRH-binding and testosterone levels revealed that immunocastration reliably suppressed testicular functions after the 2nd vaccination. Housing conditions did not modify testicular function but influenced ADG as animals under mixing grew slower than those under enriched conditions. Gonadal status had only a slight impact on ADG except in immunocastrates, which showed a temporarily higher ADG after the 2nd vaccination. The results show that immunocastration is a reliable procedure under different housing conditions and competitive in terms of growth performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Facilitating Effect of Tartary Buckwheat Flavonoids and Lactobacillus plantarum on the Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Antioxidant Capacity, and Fecal Microbiota of Weaned Piglets
Animals 2019, 9(11), 986; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110986 - 18 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Natural plant extracts and probiotics has been proved as the most preferred and effective alternatives for antibiotics in animal feeding. The current study aimed to investigate the facilitating effect of tartary buckwheat flavonoids and Lactobacillus plantarum on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, antioxidant [...] Read more.
Natural plant extracts and probiotics has been proved as the most preferred and effective alternatives for antibiotics in animal feeding. The current study aimed to investigate the facilitating effect of tartary buckwheat flavonoids and Lactobacillus plantarum on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, antioxidant capacity, and microbiota of weaned piglets. Fifty 35-day-old weaned piglets (7.85 ± 0.67 kg) were randomly divided into five treatments with 10 piglets per treatment. Piglets in the negative control (NC) group were fed a basal diet, and others were fed basal diets supplemented with 40 mg/kg of colistin sulfate (positive control, PC), 109 CFU/kg Lactobacillus plantarum (LP), 40 mg/kg of tartary buckwheat flavonoids (BF), and a combination of 109 CFU/kg Lactobacillus plantarum and 40 mg/kg of tartary buckwheat flavonoids (LB). Supplementation of BF increased the average daily gain of piglets in the BF group (p < 0.05). The nutrient digestibility of piglets in the NC group was lower than that in other groups, while the digestibility of gross energy, dry matter, organic matter, and phosphorus of piglets in the LB group was higher than the other four groups (p < 0.05). Compared with the NC and pC group, supplementation of Lp increased the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-px), and catalase (CAT), while the BF increased the content of IgA and IgM (p < 0.05). Supplementation of colistin sulfate decreased the alpha diversity index, including chao and observed species, while the addition of Lp or combination of Lp and BF increased the abundance of Selenomonas or Mitsuokella in fecal samples, respectively. The results indicated that supplementation of Lactobacillus plantarum can improve the antioxidant capacity, while tartary buckwheat flavones can increase the growth performance and immune ability of weaned piglets. Moreover, in combination, they promote nutrient digestibility. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in the Acute-Phase Protein Concentrations and Activities of Some Enzymes in Pigs Following the Repair of Experimentally Induced Articular Cartilage Defects Using Two Types of Biocement Powder
Animals 2019, 9(11), 931; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110931 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objective of the study was to assess the usefulness of acute-phase proteins (APPs) and serum enzymes in the evaluation of post-operative state after cartilage reconstruction in an animal model (Sus scrofa domesticus). Fifteen clinically healthy female pigs were evaluated during [...] Read more.
The objective of the study was to assess the usefulness of acute-phase proteins (APPs) and serum enzymes in the evaluation of post-operative state after cartilage reconstruction in an animal model (Sus scrofa domesticus). Fifteen clinically healthy female pigs were evaluated during the first 30 days after the repair of experimentally induced articular cartilage defects using two types of biocement powders. Animals were divided into groups according to the type of biocement powder used: CAK—with amino acids (n = 6), C—without amino acids (n = 6) and the control group (Ctr) was without biocement (n = 3). The concentrations of selected APPs—serum amyloid A (SAA), haptoglobin (Hp) and C-reactive protein (CRP), and the activities of some serum enzymes—creatine kinase (CK), alkaline phosphatase (AP), and lactate dehydrogenase (LD) were measured one day before the surgery and on days 7, 14, and 30 after the surgical intervention. The most significant changes during the evaluated period were observed in the concentrations of SAA (p < 0.001) and Hp (p < 0.001), with marked increase of values 7 days after surgery. There was a numerical, but not statistically significant, difference between CAK, C and Ctr groups (p > 0.05). Marked variations were observed also in the activities of the evaluated enzymes, with the most significant changes in the activity of AP in the CAK group (p < 0.001). Presented results suggest possible usefulness of some APPs and serum enzymes in the evaluation of post-operative inflammatory state after the reconstruction of articular cartilage defects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Agonistic Interactions in Pigs–Comparison of Dominance Indices with Parameters Derived from Social Network Analysis in Three Age Groups
Animals 2019, 9(11), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110929 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Dominance indices are often calculated using the number of won and lost fights of each animal focusing on dyadic interactions. Social network analysis provides new insights into the establishment of stable group structures going beyond the dyadic approach. Thus, it was investigated whether [...] Read more.
Dominance indices are often calculated using the number of won and lost fights of each animal focusing on dyadic interactions. Social network analysis provides new insights into the establishment of stable group structures going beyond the dyadic approach. Thus, it was investigated whether centrality parameters describing the importance of each animal for the network are able to capture the rank order calculated by dominance indices. Therefore, two dominance indices and five centrality parameters based on two network types (initiator-receiver and winner-loser networks) were calculated regarding agonistic interactions observed in three mixing events (weaned piglets, fattening pigs, gilts). Comparing the two network types, the winner-loser networks demonstrated highly positive correlation coefficients between out-degree and outgoing closeness and the dominance indices. These results were confirmed by partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM), i.e., about 60% of the variance of the dominance could be explained by the centrality parameters, whereby the winner-loser networks could better illustrate the dominance hierarchy with path coefficients of about 1.1 for all age groups. Thus, centrality parameters can portray the dominance hierarchy providing more detailed insights into group structure which goes beyond the dyadic approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study on Hematological and Biochemical Characters of Cloned Duroc Pigs and Their Progeny
Animals 2019, 9(11), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110912 - 02 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
To increase public understanding in cloned animals produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer technology, our previous study investigated the carcass trait and meat quality of the clones (paper accepted), and this study we further evaluate differences by investigating the blood parameters in cloned [...] Read more.
To increase public understanding in cloned animals produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer technology, our previous study investigated the carcass trait and meat quality of the clones (paper accepted), and this study we further evaluate differences by investigating the blood parameters in cloned pigs and their progeny. We collected blood samples from the clones and conventionally bred non-clones and their progeny, and investigated their hematological and blood biochemical characters. Our results supported the hypothesis that there was no significant difference between clones and non-clones, or their progeny. Taken together, the data demonstrated that the clones or their progeny were similar with their controls in terms of blood parameters, although there were still other kinds of disorders, such as abnormal DNA methylation or histone modifications that needs further investigation. The data in this study agreed that cloning technique could be used to preserve and enlarge the genetics of the superior boars in pig breeding industry, especially in facing of the deadly threat of African Swine fever happened in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Dietary Fiber Intake to Retain a Greater Ovarian Follicle Reserve for Gilts
Animals 2019, 9(11), 881; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110881 - 29 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Ovarian follicle activation and survival were recently found to be controlled by nutrient sensors AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and apoptosis related markers Caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2, yet their expression as regulated by dietary fiber remained uncertain for [...] Read more.
Ovarian follicle activation and survival were recently found to be controlled by nutrient sensors AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and apoptosis related markers Caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2, yet their expression as regulated by dietary fiber remained uncertain for gilts. To investigate the effects of dietary fiber levels on ovarian follicle development, and the cellular molecular components related to follicle activation and survival of gilts, 76 gilts with similar bodyweight and age were fed four diets, including a corn-soybean meal based control diet, or other three diets to consume 50%, 75%, and 100% more dietary fiber than the control gilts at different experimental phases. Inulin and cellulose (1:4) were added to the corn-soybean meal basal diet to increase dietary fiber content. The growth traits, and the age, bodyweight, and backfat thickness at puberty were not affected by diets. The number of primordial follicles and total follicles per cubic centimeter of ovarian tissue linearly increased with dietary fiber level at day 30 of the experiment and at the 19th day of the 3rd estrous cycle, without negatively affecting the formation of antral follicle with diameter between 1–3 mm or larger than 3 mm. These changes were associated with altered phosphorylation of mTOR, S6, Extracellular regulated protein kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) and AMPK, and mRNA expression of Caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2 in ovarian tissues. Collectively, this study demonstrated a beneficial effect of dietary fiber on the ovarian follicle reserve in gilts, which provides a basis for enhancing reproduction in the short- or long-term. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ease of Handling and Physiological Parameters of Stress, Carcasses, and Pork Quality of Pigs Handled in Different Group Sizes
Animals 2019, 9(10), 798; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100798 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The effect of different group sizes of pigs (3, 5, and 10 pigs) during handling on physiological parameters, carcasses, and pork quality traits at the farm and slaughterhouse were evaluated in 360 pigs from five farms (four repetitions or group/treatment/farms). Data was analyzed [...] Read more.
The effect of different group sizes of pigs (3, 5, and 10 pigs) during handling on physiological parameters, carcasses, and pork quality traits at the farm and slaughterhouse were evaluated in 360 pigs from five farms (four repetitions or group/treatment/farms). Data was analyzed as a factorial of 3 × 5 (3 treatments × 5 farms) to check effects of treatments by analysis of variance in ANOVA. Ease of handling decreased as the group size increased. However, time taken in handling was not influenced by the group size (p > 0.10). Moving pigs in groups of five animals reduced effects on blood cortisol levels (p < 0.05). Fighting and handling lesions in the carcasses increased for bigger handling groups (p < 0.05). Pigs handled in groups of three and ten animals had a higher pHu and initial temperature in Longissimus thoracis and Semimembranosus (p < 0.05) and lower drip loss in Semimembranosus (p < 0.05). However, meat quality classifications of the carcasses were not affected by treatments. Based on the results, moving groups of five pigs seems to be the best strategy to improve animal welfare, carcasses and pork quality. Full article
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