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Bio-Stimulants Effects on Growth Performance and Gut Health of Nursery Pigs

Joice Villanueva San Andres, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Diverse substances and microorganisms that have been considered as alternatives to in-feed antibiotic growth promoters in pigs are called bio-stimulants. The effects of bio-stimulants may not directly translate to improved parameters of growth performance but may be seen in terms of enhanced gut development, intestinal barrier function, immune response, and changes in microbial populations in the gut (Chapter 1). Also, the form, source, and dose of these additives as well as the age, health and other characteristics of the animal may affect the result of supplementation. Nursery pigs and cell culture experiments were conducted to determine the effects of major bio-stimulants prebiotics, butyrate, and probiotics on growth performance of pigs and indices of gut health. In the first experiment, prebiotics: fructooligosacchride (FOS), chicory pulp (PC) and sugar beet pulp (SBP) were supplemented in nursery pigs for a 4-week period (Chapter 2). The inclusion of prebiotics in the diet did not affect the growth performance. Serum concentrations of biomarkers of intestinal inflammation were reduced at d 14 postweaning which may indicate the potential of these prebiotics to help in the restitution of intestine from damage brought about the by weaning stress. The second experiment involved the supplementation of ammonium butyrate (AB) in the diet of nursery pigs (Chapter 3). An increase in weight gain and feed efficiency in pigs was observed with AB supplementation even at a low concentration of 100 ppm. Villus height and villus height to crypt depth ratio was also enhanced by AB inclusion in the diet. To demonstrate the effects of AB on intestinal inflammation and intestinal barrier integrity, an experiment using porcine intestinal epithelial cells (IPEC-J2) challenged with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was conducted (Chapter 4). The results show that AB may attenuate inflammation by modulating cytokine secretion and improving intestinal integrity as evidenced by enhanced transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER), reduced interleukin 8 (IL-8) and increased IL-10 concentrations. Lactobacillus reuteri (LR) isolated from suckling pigs were assessed for its effect on intestinal barrier integrity and inflammation using IPEC-J2 cells challenged with LPS (Chapter 5). The results show that LR may improve intestinal barrier integrity and reduce inflammation as evidenced by greater TEER and IL-10 concentration. This dissertation demonstrated the effects on bio-stimulants on growth performance and gut health using nursery pigs. It also showed the use of in vitro models in assessing the effects of these feed additives that may be useful for screening potential bio-stimulants for intestinal health.

Subject Area

Animal sciences|Nutrition|Health sciences|Agriculture

Recommended Citation

San Andres, Joice Villanueva, "Bio-Stimulants Effects on Growth Performance and Gut Health of Nursery Pigs" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28031608.