The Weaned Pig: Nutrition and Management

A topical collection in Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This collection belongs to the section "Pigs".

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Collection Editor
Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
Interests: hepatic lipid metabolism; intestinal health; trace minerals
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Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Optimal nutrition and management in the weaning age have a major influence on pigs’ performance in the later stages of production for both growing and breeding herds. This area is considered to contain a large space for potential economic benefits. Therefore, it has attracted prominent attention by producers, feed manufacturers, managers, and researchers in the last few decades due to the reduction of weaning ages from 6–8 weeks to 3–4 weeks. With increased interest in food safety, animal welfare, environmental protection, and product quality worldwide, not only nutrition and management but animal behavior and health; physical, microbiological, and psychological environments; and feed components, especially pre- and probiotics as immune promoters have been stressed greatly. Continuing to make progress in research concerning conditions in the weaning age is critically important for efficient, healthy, and safe swine production.

The scope of this Topical Collection is to present current studies and reviews in all areas related to the weaning process, such as development and growth of weaned pigs, nutritional requirements and management during pre- and post-weaning, behavioral changes and stress adaptations around weaning, the regulation of digestion and absorption, and the modulation of intestinal integrity, microflora, and immunity.

Prof. Dr. Lin Xi
Collection Editor

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Keywords

  • weaned pig
  • nutrition
  • management
  • growth and development
  • intestinal health

Published Papers (17 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2022, 2021, 2020

15 pages, 3834 KiB  
Article
Impact of Long-Term Supplementation with Probiotics on Gut Microbiota and Growth Performance in Post-Weaned Piglets
by Soo-Yeon Park, Yo-Han Kim, Sung-Jae Kim and Jeong-Hee Han
Animals 2024, 14(11), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14111652 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 419
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate effects of long-term probiotic supplementation on gut microbiota and growth performance in health weaned piglets. The non-probiotic group (N-PrB) was fed only a basal diet, while the probiotic group (PrB) was fed a basal diet + probiotic combination [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate effects of long-term probiotic supplementation on gut microbiota and growth performance in health weaned piglets. The non-probiotic group (N-PrB) was fed only a basal diet, while the probiotic group (PrB) was fed a basal diet + probiotic combination (E. faecium 1.6 × 108 CFU/g, B. subtilis 2.0 × 108 CFU/g, S. cerevisiae 3.0 × 108 CFU/g). The probiotics combination was provided to the PrB, mixing with the basal diet in 5 kg/ton. As a result, the PrB exhibited significantly improved weight gain compared to the N-PrB (p = 0.00991). In the gut microbiome analysis, the PrB exhibited a significant increasing tendency of α-diversity compared to those of the N-PrB (p < 0.01). In the bacterial relative abundance changes in bacteria comprising the gut microbiota, Ruminococcaceae (p = 0.00281) and Prevotella (p = 0.00687) tended to significantly increase in the PrB, but decreased in the N-PrB. The Eubaterium coprostanoligenes group exhibited an increasing tendency in both groups, but tended to increase more significantly in the PrB compared to the N-PrB (p = 0.00681). Muribaculaceae tended to significantly increase in the N-PrB, but decreased in the PrB (p = 0.002779). In this study, significant differences on the gut microbiome were found according to the probiotics supplementation in the weaned piglets and these gut microbiome changes appeared to improve the growth performance. Full article
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2022

Jump to: 2024, 2021, 2020

13 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Improvements in Performance of Nursery Pigs Provided with Supplemental Oil Derived from Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) Larvae
by Eric van Heugten, Gabriela Martinez, Alejandra McComb and Liz Koutsos
Animals 2022, 12(23), 3251; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12233251 - 23 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3002
Abstract
The current study evaluated the impact of increasing levels of supplemental black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) oil, a novel and sustainable feed ingredient, on growth performance and blood chemistry indices in nursery pigs. Pigs were weaned at 21 days of age (n [...] Read more.
The current study evaluated the impact of increasing levels of supplemental black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) oil, a novel and sustainable feed ingredient, on growth performance and blood chemistry indices in nursery pigs. Pigs were weaned at 21 days of age (n = 192; body weight = 6.9 ± 0.15 kg) and randomly allotted within sex and body weight to 1 of 4 dietary treatments, using 48 pens (4 pigs/pen). Treatments contained 0, 2, 4, or 6% supplemental BSFL oil, replacing equivalent quantities of corn oil. A 3-phase feeding program was used with 14, 11, and 15 days for phase 1 to 3, respectively. Supplementation of BSFL oil linearly (p ≤ 0.052) improved pig body weight and daily gain throughout the study and overall. No differences were observed in feed intake; however, feed efficiency was linearly improved with BSFL oil supplementation for phase 1 and 2 (p < 0.05). Serum cholesterol increased linearly (p = 0.002) and platelet count tended to increase linearly (p = 0.082) with increasing BSFL oil. No other differences were detected in blood chemistry and all results were within normal ranges. In conclusion, BSFL oil is a valuable, energy-dense feed ingredient that can promote growth performance of nursery pigs. Full article
23 pages, 1235 KiB  
Review
Use of Microorganisms as Nutritional and Functional Feedstuffs for Nursery Pigs and Broilers
by Yi-Chi Cheng and Sung Woo Kim
Animals 2022, 12(22), 3141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12223141 - 14 Nov 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3579
Abstract
The objectives of this review paper are to introduce the structures and composition of various microorganisms, to show some applications of single cells as alternative protein supplements or energy feeds in swine and poultry diets, and to discuss the functional effects of microorganisms [...] Read more.
The objectives of this review paper are to introduce the structures and composition of various microorganisms, to show some applications of single cells as alternative protein supplements or energy feeds in swine and poultry diets, and to discuss the functional effects of microorganisms as feed additives on the growth performance and intestinal health of nursery pigs and broilers. Microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, and microalgae, have been commonly supplemented in animal diets because they are cost-effective, stable, and have quantitative production that provides nutritional and functional benefits to pigs and broilers. Microorganisms could be alternative antibiotics to enhance intestinal health due to bioactive components from cell wall components, which interact with receptors on epithelial and immune cells. In addition, bioactive components could be digested by intestinal microbiota to produce short-chain fatty acids and enhance energy utilization. Otherwise, microorganisms such as single-cell protein (SCP) and single-cell oils (SCOs) are sustainable and economic choices to replace conventional protein supplements and energy feeds. Supplementing microorganisms as feedstuffs and feed additives improved the average daily gain by 1.83%, the daily feed intake by 0.24%, and the feed efficiency by 1.46% in pigs and broilers. Based on the properties of each microorganism, traditional protein supplements, energy feeds, and functional feed additives could be replaced by microorganisms, which have shown benefits to animal’s growth and health. Therefore, specific microorganisms could be promising alternatives as nutritional and functional feedstuffs in animal diets. Full article
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12 pages, 576 KiB  
Article
Gruel Creep Feeding Accelerates Growth and Alters Intestinal Health of Young Pigs
by Timothy E. Boston, Feng Wang, Xi Lin, Suzanne Leonard, Sung Woo Kim, Denny McKilligan, Vivek Fellner and Jack Odle
Animals 2022, 12(18), 2408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12182408 - 14 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2167
Abstract
To combat the stress of weaning, we utilized novel gruel creep feeders to supplement suckling pigs with divergent soluble (n = 6 litters) versus insoluble (n = 6) diets compared with un-supplemented controls (n = 6). Post-weaning, pigs were fed [...] Read more.
To combat the stress of weaning, we utilized novel gruel creep feeders to supplement suckling pigs with divergent soluble (n = 6 litters) versus insoluble (n = 6) diets compared with un-supplemented controls (n = 6). Post-weaning, pigs were fed a common phase 1 diet. Average daily weight gains of pigs fed soluble and insoluble creep diets were 53% and 17% greater than control pigs, respectively (p < 0.01). Creep intake was higher (82%) for pigs fed the soluble diet, and the accompanying weight increase was sustained post-weaning (p < 0.02). Villus measures were prematurely altered in soluble-creep-fed pigs (p < 0.01), with decreases in villi length, crypt depth, and villus area pre-weaning. No effects of treatment were detected for VFA concentrations and pH in the cecum. There was an interaction between treatment and age for several pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (p < 0.01), where soluble-creep-fed pigs had increased cytokine levels with age, whereas cytokine levels in the insoluble and control groups decreased over time. We conclude that a soluble creep diet fed in a gruel state during the pre-weaning period has a positive impact on weaning weight that is sustained post-weaning, and is accompanied by alterations in the intestinal health of young pigs. Full article
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10 pages, 238 KiB  
Article
Effects of Weaning Modes on the Intestinal pH, Activity of Digestive Enzymes, and Intestinal Morphology of Piglets
by Zhifang Shi, Tianwu Wang, Jingjing Kang, Yidan Li, Yang Li and Lei Xi
Animals 2022, 12(17), 2200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12172200 - 26 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1577
Abstract
The present study investigated the effects of weaning modes on the intestinal pH, digestive enzyme activities, and intestinal morphology of piglets. A total of 27 litters of “Duroc boars × Landrace × Large White” piglets were selected and randomly divided into three groups. [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the effects of weaning modes on the intestinal pH, digestive enzyme activities, and intestinal morphology of piglets. A total of 27 litters of “Duroc boars × Landrace × Large White” piglets were selected and randomly divided into three groups. Those groups were the conventional weaning group (C), the odorant spray group (S), and the weaning-after-mixing group (M), with three repeats in each group and three litters in each repeat. The experiment began seven days before weaning, and ended seven days after weaning. The piglets were euthanized on the eighth day after weaning, and the jejunum and ileum tissues and contents were sampled. The pH and enzyme activities of the intestinal contents were determined, and the intestinal morphologies were revealed using H&E staining. It was concluded that a 2% glutaraldehyde spray on the body surfaces of piglets after weaning could increase average weight after nursery, lower intestinal pH, increase the activities of digestive enzymes, improve intestinal morphology, and relieve weaning stress. It was also found that weaning after mixing could increase the average weight after nursery, lower intestinal pH, improve intestinal morphology, and reduce weaning stress. Full article
10 pages, 241 KiB  
Article
Effect of Weaning at 21 Days of Age on the Content of Bile Acids in Chyme of Cecum
by Yu Zhang, Hongbing Xie, Lirong Wang, Jianhe Hu, Lei Wang and Shouping Zhang
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162138 - 20 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1362
Abstract
This experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of weaning at 21 days of age on cecal chyme bile acids (BAs) in piglets. According to a 2 × 3 factorial design, the main factors were lactation and weaning, and the other factor was [...] Read more.
This experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of weaning at 21 days of age on cecal chyme bile acids (BAs) in piglets. According to a 2 × 3 factorial design, the main factors were lactation and weaning, and the other factor was 22, 24, and 28 days of age, respectively. Piglets were randomly divided into two groups of eighteen piglets each and six piglets were selected for slaughter at 22, 24, and 28 days of age, respectively, to determine the content of different types of Bas in the intestinal lumen of the cecum. Results: (1) There was a significant interaction between weaning and age on intestinal primary Bas hyocholic acid (HCA) and chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) (p < 0.05), and weaning significantly increased the content of primary BAs in piglets’ intestines, which showed a trend of decreasing and then increasing with the increase in piglets’ age. (2) There was a significant interaction between weaning and age on intestinal secondary BAs deoxycholic acid (DCA), lithocholic acid (LCA), and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) (p < 0.05). DCA and LCA in piglets’ intestines tended to decrease with increasing age, while UDCA showed a trend of decreasing and then increasing with increasing piglets’ age; weaning significantly increased the content of secondary BAs in piglets’ intestines. (3) There was a significant interaction between weaning and age on intestinal glycine chenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA), taurochenodeoxycholic acid (TCDCA), and taurolithocholic acid (TLCA), but not on taurohyocholic acid (THCA), taurohyodeoxycholic acid (THDCA), and taurineursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) (p > 0.05). Weaning significantly increased the contents of GCDCA, TCDCA, TLCA, THDCA, and TUDCA in the intestinal tract (p < 0.05), while THCA content was not significant. In conclusion, weaning can increase the BAs content in the cecum of piglets, and there is an interaction between group and weaning age on BAs content. Full article

2021

Jump to: 2024, 2022, 2020

10 pages, 254 KiB  
Article
Early Weaning Affects Liver Antioxidant Function in Piglets
by Lihuai Yu, Hongmin Li, Zhong Peng, Yuzhu Ge, Jun Liu, Tianlong Wang, Hongrong Wang and Li Dong
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2679; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092679 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2445
Abstract
This study examined the impact of early weaning on antioxidant function in piglets. A total of 40 Duroc × Landrace × Large White, 21-day-old piglets (half male and half female) were divided into suckling groups (SG) and weaning groups (WG). Piglets in WG [...] Read more.
This study examined the impact of early weaning on antioxidant function in piglets. A total of 40 Duroc × Landrace × Large White, 21-day-old piglets (half male and half female) were divided into suckling groups (SG) and weaning groups (WG). Piglets in WG were weaned at the 21st day, while the piglets in SG continued to get breastfed. Eight piglets from each group were randomly selected and slaughtered at 24th-day (SG3, WG3) and 28th-day old (SG7, WG7). The body weight, liver index, hepatocyte morphology, antioxidant enzymes activity, gene expression of antioxidant enzymes, and Nrf2 signaling in the liver of piglets were measured. The results showed that weaning caused decreased body weight (p < 0.01), lower liver weight (p < 0.01), and decreased the liver organ index (p < 0.05) of piglets. The area and size of hepatocytes in the WG group was smaller than that in the SG group (p < 0.05). We also observed that weaning reduced the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) (p < 0.05) in the liver of piglets. Relative to the SG3 group, the gene expression of GSH-Px in liver of WG3 was significantly reduced (p < 0.05). The gene expression of Nrf2 in the SG3 group was higher than that in the WG3 group (p < 0.01). The gene expression of NQO1 in the SG7 group was higher than that in the WG7 group (p < 0.05). In conclusion, weaning resulted in lower weight, slowed liver development, and reduced antioxidant enzymes activity, thereby impairing liver antioxidant function and suppressing piglet growth. Full article
12 pages, 718 KiB  
Article
Enzyme-Treated Soybean Meal Enhanced Performance via Improving Immune Response, Intestinal Morphology and Barrier Function of Nursery Pigs in Antibiotic Free Diets
by Shenfei Long, Jiayu Ma, Xiangshu Piao, Yuxin Li, Simone Husballe Rasmussen and Li Liu
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2600; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092600 - 4 Sep 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2777
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the effects of ESBM on performance, antioxidant status, immune response, and intestinal barrier function of nursery pigs in antibiotic free diets compared with EFS. A total of 32 Duroc × (Landrace × Yorkshire) barrows (initial body weight of [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the effects of ESBM on performance, antioxidant status, immune response, and intestinal barrier function of nursery pigs in antibiotic free diets compared with EFS. A total of 32 Duroc × (Landrace × Yorkshire) barrows (initial body weight of 8.05 ± 0.66 kg, weaned on d 28) were selected and allocated to two treatments with 16 replicates per treatment and one pig per replicate using a complete random design. The treatments included an EFS group (basal diet + 24% EFS; EFS) and an ESBM group (basal diet + 15% ESBM; ESBM). Corn was used to balance energy and diets were iso-nitrogenous at about 18% crude protein. The experiment lasted for 14 days and pigs were slaughtered for sampling on d 14. Compared with EFS, pigs fed ESBM showed enhanced (p < 0.05) gain to feed ratio and average daily gain and a reduced (p < 0.05) diarrhea score. These pigs had increased (p < 0.05) contents of glutathione peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase, IgG, interleukin-10, and ferric reducing ability of plasma, as well as decreased (p < 0.05) malondialdehyde, IL-6, IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), interferon-γ, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, and diamine oxidase level in serum and TNF-α level in the jejunal mucosa. Moreover, these pigs also showed enhanced (p < 0.05) villus height/crypt depth in ileum, villus height in duodenum, protein expression of zonula-occludens-1 in jejunal mucosa, and fecal total volatile fatty acids and butyric acid contents. In conclusion, ESBM replacing EFS could enhance performance via improving immune response, antioxidant status, gut morphology, and barrier function of nursery pigs in antibiotic free diets. Full article
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12 pages, 247 KiB  
Article
Effects of Weaning Age at 21 and 28 Days on Growth Performance, Intestinal Morphology and Redox Status in Piglets
by Dongxu Ming, Wenhui Wang, Caiyun Huang, Zijie Wang, Chenyu Shi, Jian Ding, Hu Liu and Fenglai Wang
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082169 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4329
Abstract
The study objective was to assess effects of different weaning ages on growth performance, intestinal morphology and redox status in Duroc × Landrace × Large White piglets (n = 96) fed diets without antibiotic growth promoters. Piglets were selected from 24 litters based [...] Read more.
The study objective was to assess effects of different weaning ages on growth performance, intestinal morphology and redox status in Duroc × Landrace × Large White piglets (n = 96) fed diets without antibiotic growth promoters. Piglets were selected from 24 litters based on similar body weight at 14 d of age. All piglets were allocated to two groups in a completely random design with six replicates and eight pigs per replicate (four barrows and four gilts), which were weaned at 21 (n = 48; BW = 6.87 ± 0.33 kg) and 28 (n = 48; BW = 8.49 ± 0.41 kg) days of age. After weaning, pigs were fed a corn–soybean meal-based diet. Average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), feed conversion (F:G), diarrhea incidence, gastrointestinal pH, intestinal morphology and redox status were determined. Pigs weaned at 28 d displayed increased ADG from d 8 to 14 (p < 0.01) compared with pigs weaned at 21 d. Pigs weaned at 28 d had a higher ADFI from d 0 to 7 (p < 0.01), d 8 to 14 (p < 0.01), d 15 to 28 (p < 0.05) and during the entire experimental period (p < 0.01) compared with pigs weaned at 21 d. Pigs weaned at 21 d had an improved F:G from d 15 to 28 (p < 0.05) compared with pigs weaned at 28 d. Pigs weaned at 28 d had decreased diarrhea incidence from d 8 to 14 (p < 0.01) and the entire experimental period (p < 0.01) compared with pigs weaned at 21 d. On d 28, the pH of the stomach contents in pigs weaned at 21 d was significantly higher compared with pigs weaned at 28 d (p < 0.01). On d 14, the morphology of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum in pigs weaned at 28 d was improved compared with pigs weaned at 21 d. During the experiment period, the antioxidant abilities of pigs weaned at 28 d of the heart, liver, kidney, intestinal and serum were better than pigs weaned at 21 d. In conclusion, intestinal morphology, pH of the stomach and antioxidant status of pigs weaned at 28 d were better than pigs weaned at 21 d. These factors supported better growth performance and decreased diarrhea incidence. Full article
16 pages, 266 KiB  
Article
Supplemental Effects of Functional Oils on the Modulation of Mucosa-Associated Microbiota, Intestinal Health, and Growth Performance of Nursery Pigs
by Vitor Hugo C. Moita, Marcos Elias Duarte, Suelen Nunes da Silva and Sung Woo Kim
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061591 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4782
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effects of functional oils on modulation of mucosa-associated microbiota, intestinal health, and growth performance of nursery pigs. Forty newly weaned pigs (20 barrows and 20 gilts) with 7.0 ± 0.5 kg body weight (BW) were housed individually [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of functional oils on modulation of mucosa-associated microbiota, intestinal health, and growth performance of nursery pigs. Forty newly weaned pigs (20 barrows and 20 gilts) with 7.0 ± 0.5 kg body weight (BW) were housed individually and randomly allotted in a randomized complete block design with sex and initial BW as blocks. The dietary treatments were a basal diet with increasing levels (0.00, 0.50, 0.75, 1.00, and 1.50 g/kg feed) of functional oils (a blend of castor oil and cashew nutshell liquid; Oligo Basics USA LLC, Cary, NC) fed to pigs for 34 days divided in two phases (P1 for 13 days and P2 for 21 days). Growth performance was analyzed weekly. On day 34, all pigs were euthanized to collect jejunal mucosa for analyzing the mucosa-associated microbiota and intestinal health, and ileal digesta for analyzing apparent ileal digestibility. Data were analyzed using SAS 9.4. Supplementation of functional oils did not affect the overall growth performance. Increasing supplementation of functional oils reduced (p < 0.05) the relative abundance of Helicobacteraceae, whereas it increased (p < 0.05) Lactobacillus kitasatonis. Supplementation of functional oils tended (p = 0.064) to decrease protein carbonyl and increase the villus height (p = 0.098) and crypt depth (p = 0.070). In conclusion, supplementation of functional oils enhanced intestinal health of nursery pigs by increasing beneficial and reducing harmful bacteria, potentially reducing oxidative stress and enhancing intestinal morphology, without affecting overall growth performance of pigs. Supplementation of functional oils at 0.75–1.50 g/kg feed was the most beneficial to the jejunal mucosa-associated microbiota and intestinal integrity of nursery pigs. Full article
17 pages, 9982 KiB  
Review
Weaning Induced Gut Dysfunction and Nutritional Interventions in Nursery Pigs: A Partial Review
by Xiaoyuan Wei, Tsungcheng Tsai, Samantha Howe and Jiangchao Zhao
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051279 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 3750
Abstract
Weaning is one of the most stressful events in the life of a pig. Unsuccessful weaning often leads to intestinal and immune system dysfunctions, resulting in poor growth performance as well as increased morbidity and mortality. The gut microbiota community is a complex [...] Read more.
Weaning is one of the most stressful events in the life of a pig. Unsuccessful weaning often leads to intestinal and immune system dysfunctions, resulting in poor growth performance as well as increased morbidity and mortality. The gut microbiota community is a complex ecosystem and is considered an “organ,” producing various metabolites with many beneficial functions. In this review, we briefly introduce weaning-associated gut microbiota dysbiosis. Then, we explain the importance of maintaining a balanced gut microbiota. Finally, we discuss dietary supplements and their abilities to restore intestinal balance and improve the growth performance of weaning pigs. Full article
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10 pages, 238 KiB  
Article
Impact of Supplementary Microbial Additives Producing Antimicrobial Substances and Digestive Enzymes on Growth Performance, Blood Metabolites, and Fecal Microflora of Weaning Pigs
by Hyuk-Jun Lee, Hyeon-Tak Noh, Dimas Hand Vidya Paradhipta, Young-Ho Joo, Seong-Shin Lee, Jeong-Seok Choi, Dong-Hyeon Kim, Soo-Ki Kim and Sam-Churl Kim
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051217 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
The present study investigated the effects of microbial additives producing antimicrobial and digestive-enzyme activities on the growth performance, blood metabolites, and fecal microflora of weaning pigs from 21 to 42 d of age. A total of 144 weaning pigs (1:1 ratio of gilt [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the effects of microbial additives producing antimicrobial and digestive-enzyme activities on the growth performance, blood metabolites, and fecal microflora of weaning pigs from 21 to 42 d of age. A total of 144 weaning pigs (1:1 ratio of gilt and boar; 21 d of age; 7.40 ± 0.53 kg of average body weight) were randomly distributed into four supplementary levels of microbial additive (0 vs. 0.5 vs. 1.0 vs. 1.5% of fresh weight) with three pens of replication, consisting of 12 weaning pigs per pen. All weaning pigs were maintained with the same basal diet for 21 d. Blood and feces were subsampled at day 21. Feed efficiency tended to increase linearly (p = 0.069) with an increasing supplementation level. Insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1, and blood glucose presented a quadratic effect (p < 0.05) with an increasing supplementation level, and these blood metabolites were highest at the 1% supplementation level. Immunoglobulin G in blood increased linearly by (p < 0.05) increasing the supplementation level. Salmonella and Escherichia coli in feces were decreased linearly by (p < 0.05) increasing the supplementation level. In conclusion, supplementation of microbial additive at 1.0% improved the feed efficiency, blood metabolites, and fecal microflora of weaning pigs. Full article
16 pages, 338 KiB  
Review
Invited Review: Maintain or Improve Piglet Gut Health around Weanling: The Fundamental Effects of Dietary Amino Acids
by Shengfa F. Liao
Animals 2021, 11(4), 1110; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041110 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3253
Abstract
Gut health has significant implications for swine nutrient utilization and overall health. The basic gut morphology and its luminal microbiota play determinant roles for maintaining gut health and functions. Amino acids (AA), a group of essential nutrients for pigs, are not only obligatory [...] Read more.
Gut health has significant implications for swine nutrient utilization and overall health. The basic gut morphology and its luminal microbiota play determinant roles for maintaining gut health and functions. Amino acids (AA), a group of essential nutrients for pigs, are not only obligatory for maintaining gut mucosal mass and integrity, but also for supporting the growth of luminal microbiota. This review summarized the up-to-date knowledge concerning the effects of dietary AA supplementation on the gut health of weanling piglets. For instance, threonine, arginine, glutamine, methionine and cysteine are beneficial to gut mucosal immunity and barrier function. Glutamine, arginine, threonine, methionine and cysteine can also assist with relieving the post-weaning stress of young piglets by improving gut immunological functions, antioxidant capacity, and/or anti-inflammatory ability. Glutamine, glutamate, glycine and cysteine can assist to reconstruct the gut structure after its damage and reverse its dysfunction. Furthermore, methionine, lysine, threonine, and glutamate play key roles in affecting bacteria growth in the lumen. Overall, the previous studies with different AA showed both similar and different effects on the gut health, but how to take advantages of all these effects for field application is not clear. It is uncertain whether these AA effects are synergetic or antagonistic. The interactions between the effects of non-nutrient feed additives and the fundamental effects of AA warrant further investigation. Considering the global push to minimize the antibiotics and ZnO usage in swine production, a primary effort at present may be made to explore the specific effects of individual AA, and then the concert effects of multiple AA, on the profile and functions of gut microbiota in young pigs. Full article
17 pages, 1231 KiB  
Article
Dietary Tryptophan Levels Impact Growth Performance and Intestinal Microbial Ecology in Weaned Piglets via Tryptophan Metabolites and Intestinal Antimicrobial Peptides
by Zebin Rao, Jinlong Li, Baoshi Shi, Yan Zeng, Yubo Liu, Zhihong Sun, Liuting Wu, Weizhong Sun and Zhiru Tang
Animals 2021, 11(3), 817; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030817 - 14 Mar 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2639
Abstract
Tryptophan (Trp) plays an important role in piglet growth. However, the effect of dietary Trp on microbial flora is still poorly understood. A total of 40 28-d weaned piglets were allocated to four groups with 10 barrows per group and one pig per [...] Read more.
Tryptophan (Trp) plays an important role in piglet growth. However, the effect of dietary Trp on microbial flora is still poorly understood. A total of 40 28-d weaned piglets were allocated to four groups with 10 barrows per group and one pig per replicate. Piglets were fed a corn and soybean meal-based diet with 0.14%, 0.21%, 0.28%, or 0.35% Trp for four weeks. Five piglets from each diet group were euthanized, and blood and tissue samples were collected. The average daily body weight gain, average daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio, spleen index, pancreas index, longissimus dorsi muscle index, plasma insulin, 5-hydroxytryptamine, kynurenine, and Trp concentrations of weaned piglets increased in a dose-dependent manner (p < 0.05). Compared with the 0.14% Trp diet, the adequate-Trp diets (0.21%, 0.28%, or 0.35%) down-regulated the relative abundances of 12 genera including Turicibacter, Prevotella, Mitsuokella, Anaerovibrio, Megasphaera, Succinivibrio, Sutterella, Desulfovibrio, and Methanobrevibacter (p < 0.05); up-regulated the abundances of Ruminococcaceae, Lactobacillus, and Muribaculaceae in the colon (p < 0.05); and augmented the mRNA level and concentration of porcine β-defensin 2 in the small intestinal mucosa (p < 0.05). Moreover, Trp-adequate diets increased the abundances of Trp hydroxylase, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, porcine β-defensin 2, phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin, and phosphorylated protein kinase B in the small intestinal mucosa (p < 0.05). We noted that a corn and soybean meal-based diet with 0.35% Trp may be a nutritional strategy to improve growth performance, intestinal mucosal barrier integrity, and intestinal microbial ecology in weaned piglets. Full article
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17 pages, 2284 KiB  
Article
Effects of Protein Restriction and Subsequent Realimentation on Body Composition, Gut Microbiota and Metabolite Profiles in Weaned Piglets
by Lei Hou, Li Wang, Yueqin Qiu, YunXia Xiong, Hao Xiao, Hongbo Yi, Xiaolu Wen, Zeling Lin, Zhikang Wang, Xuefen Yang and Zongyong Jiang
Animals 2021, 11(3), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030686 - 4 Mar 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2849
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of protein restriction and subsequent protein realimentation on the body composition, gut microbiota and metabolite profiles of piglets. Fifty weaned piglets were randomly assigned to two treatments: a normal protein (NP) group (20% [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of protein restriction and subsequent protein realimentation on the body composition, gut microbiota and metabolite profiles of piglets. Fifty weaned piglets were randomly assigned to two treatments: a normal protein (NP) group (20% crude protein (CP)) or a low protein (LP) group (16% CP) with five animals per pen and five pens per group. Treatment diets were fed for 14 d during the protein restriction phase, and then all pigs were fed the same nursery diets with a normal CP level (19% CP) during the protein realimentation phase until they reached an average target body weight (BW) of 25 ± 0.15 kg. At day 14 and the end of the experiment, one piglet close to the average BW of each pen was slaughtered to determine body composition, microbial composition and microbial metabolites. Results showed that there was no difference (p > 0.05) in the experimental days to reach target BW between the LP and NP groups. The average daily gain (ADG) and gain:feed ratio (G:F) during the protein restriction phase as well as BW at day 14, were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) in the LP group compared with the NP group. However, there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) during the protein realimentation phase and the overall experiment. Similarly, piglets in the LP group showed a significantly decreased body protein content (p < 0.05) at day 14, but not (p > 0.05) at the end of the experiment. The relative abundance of Parabacteroides, Butyricicoccus, Olsenella, Succinivibrio and Pseudoramibacter were significantly increased (p < 0.05), while the relative abundance of Alloprevotella and Faecalicoccus were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) in the LP group at day 14. At the end of the experiment, the piglets in the LP group showed a higher (p < 0.05) colonic relative abundances of Parabacteroides, unidentified Christensenellaceae and Caproiciproducens, and a lower (p < 0.05) relative abundance of unidentified Prevotellaceae, Haemophilus, Marvinbryantia, Faecalibaculum, Neisseria and Dubosiella than those in the NP group. Metabolomics analyses indicated that tryptophan metabolism and vitamin metabolism were enriched in the LP group at day 14, and glycerophospholipid metabolism and fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acid metabolism were enriched at the end of the experiment. Moreover, Spearman’s correlation analysis demonstrated that the microbial composition was highly correlated with changes in colonic metabolites. Collectively, these results indicated that protein restriction and subsequent realimentation lead to compensatory growth and compensatory protein deposition in piglets and contribute to animal intestinal health by altering the gut microbiota and its metabolites. Full article
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2020

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9 pages, 237 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Supplementation of Humic Acid Sodium and Zinc Oxide on Growth Performance, Immune Status and Antioxidant Capacity of Weaned Piglets
by Qi Wang, Jiafu Ying, Peng Zou, Yuanhao Zhou, Baikui Wang, Dongyou Yu, Weifen Li and Xiaoli Zhan
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2104; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112104 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 2993
Abstract
At present, the widespread use of high-dose zinc oxide and antibiotics to prevent post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) in piglets has caused serious environmental problems. To solve this problem, we studied the effect of HNa as a substitute for zinc oxide (ZnO) and antibiotics on [...] Read more.
At present, the widespread use of high-dose zinc oxide and antibiotics to prevent post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) in piglets has caused serious environmental problems. To solve this problem, we studied the effect of HNa as a substitute for zinc oxide (ZnO) and antibiotics on the growth performance, immune status, and antioxidant capacity of piglets. Seventy-two weaned piglets (body weight = 7.42 ± 0.85 kg, 26-d-old) were distributed in a randomized 2 × 3 factorial design (two sexes and three treatments) with six replicates of four piglets each. The three treatments were the control diet (basic diet), HNa diet (basic diet + 2000 mg/kg sodium humate), and ZoA group (basic diet + 1600 mg/kg zinc oxide + 1000 mg/kg oxytetracycline calcium). ANOVA and Chi-square tests were applied to compare the means (p < 0.05) between treatments. The results showed that body weight at 16 and 30 d and the average daily gain of piglets fed with HNa or ZoA were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the control group. Supplementing HNa or ZoA significantly increased (p < 0.05) the level of immunoglobulin M and G, and reduced (p < 0.05) the concentration of inflammatory factors such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukins IL-6 and IL-1β, myeloperoxidase (MPO), and diamine oxidase (DAO). Furthermore, dietary HNa or ZnO significantly reduced (p < 0.05) the level of total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) and malondialdehyde (MDA) compared with the control group. ZoA treatment showed an upward trend of IgA level and a downward trend of the concentration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and catalase (CAT). Overall, the study demonstrated that the addition of HNa in the diet partially replaced antibiotics and ZnO to improve the growth performance, immune function, and antioxidant capacity of weaned piglets, and maintained a good preventive effect on piglet diarrhea. Full article
17 pages, 1470 KiB  
Article
Effects of Dietary Supplementation of Garlic and Oregano Essential Oil on Biomarkers of Oxidative Status, Stress and Inflammation in Postweaning Piglets
by Jorge Rivera-Gomis, Camila Peres Rubio, Cristina Martínez Conesa, Julio Otal Salaverri, José Joaquín Cerón, Damián Escribano Tortosa and María José Cubero Pablo
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2093; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112093 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3897
Abstract
The effects of two different concentrations of micro capsuled oregano essential oil (OEO) and purple garlic powder on biomarkers of oxidative status, stress, and inflammation, as well as on average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR), were evaluated in piglets during [...] Read more.
The effects of two different concentrations of micro capsuled oregano essential oil (OEO) and purple garlic powder on biomarkers of oxidative status, stress, and inflammation, as well as on average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR), were evaluated in piglets during the postweaning period. The trial was carried out with 300 crossbred pigs of 21 days of age fed with different concentrations of OEO and purple garlic powder and ZnO. Saliva and serum samples were taken to evaluate a panel of biomarkers of oxidative status, stress, and inflammation. OEO and garlic powder at 0.4% did not produce significant changes in C-reactive protein (CRP) and cortisol and yielded higher levels of the antioxidant biomarker CUPRAC in serum than higher doses (p < 0.01); they yielded a better ADG than the control and ZnO diets. OEO and garlic powder at higher concentrations than 0.4% showed higher concentrations of CRP (p < 0.05). Overall, doses of OEO and garlic powder at 0.4% did not lead to inflammation, stress, or negative changes in oxidative biomarkers in piglets during the postweaning period and gave better productive performance than the control and ZnO diets. High doses of OEO and garlic powder were ineffective and could negatively affect the animals. Therefore, our results highlight the importance of the dose used when OEO or garlic are supplemented to piglets. Full article
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