Probiotics show immune and gut benefits for piglets

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

Probiotics show immune and gut benefits for piglets

Related tags: Bacteria

Early administration of probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum I5007 to piglets may boost the microbial composition of the young animals and modulate their immune status, says a new study.

Scientists from the China Agricultural University in Beijing, the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and Oklahoma State University in the US report that 14 days of supplementation with the probiotic strains promoted communities of bacteria in the gut of the animals that were more resilient and putatively beneficial to stable gut health.

“Our findings show that intervening with desirable microbes at an early age and shifting the microbiota toward a more beneficial composition is a good strategy to maintain a healthy gut and impact later succession of microbiota,” ​they wrote in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The study adds to the ever-growing body of science to support the beneficial effects of select bacterial strains for both animal and human health.

Study details

The scientists used full-term 4 day old piglets for their study. The new-borns were all fed with milk replacer, and divided into two groups: a control (placebo) group and the probiotic group (6 billion colony forming units per mL of L. fermentum I5007 per day) for 14 days.

Results showed that the probiotic group displayed significant differences in measures of intestinal development, compared to the placebo group, with greater heights of villi in jejunum and increases in the concentrations of the short-chain fatty acid butyrate and branched chain fatty acids in the digestive matter in the colon.

In addition, the probiotic-fed piglets had lower levels of markers of inflammation, compared to the placebo-fed animals.

“Our study indicated that after early introduction of ​L. fermentum I5007, the structure of the neonatal piglets’ microbial composition and their metabolism as well as immune status could be manipulated, while promoting communities more resilient and putatively beneficial to gut homeostasis,” ​they wrote.

“The effects are exerted at an early stage following introduction, which suggests that ​L. fermentum I5007 could be used as a probiotic for application in the neonatal period in piglets.”

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/jf403288r
“Oral Administration of Lactobacillus fermentum I5007 Favors Intestinal Development and Alters the Intestinal Microbiota in Formula-Fed Piglets”
Authors: H. Liu, J. Zhang, S. Zhang, et al

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