Study: Monolaurin and tributyrin blend could replace zinc oxide in weaned piglet diets

By Jane Byrne contact

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© GettyImages/Digital Zoo
© GettyImages/Digital Zoo

Related tags: Zinc oxide, weaned piglets

Weaned piglets fed diets containing a monolaurin and tributyrin blend had equal performance to piglets fed a diet supplemented with high levels of zinc oxide, finds a Greek study.

The authors, in a paper published in Research in Veterinary Science​reported that diets with monolaurin and tributyrin resulted in equivalent performance with ZnO based weaned piglet diets.

“Diets with monolaurin and tributyrin resulted in equivalent performance with ZnO. Piglets fed the supplement had thicker intestinal mucosa in jejunum and ileum. Compared to ZnO, monolaurin and tributyrin increased Lactobacillus spp. counts.”

The study

The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects of a monolaurin and tributyrin blend compared to high zinc oxide (ZnO) levels in weaned piglet diets under field conditions.

The parameters assessed included growth performance, fecal microbial counts, intestinal histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry, said the team, comprising two researchers based at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and one from a pathology laboratory in Thermi, Greece.

In a first trial, of four weeks duration, piglets were assigned to one of two treatments: a control feed (CON) which was a diet supplemented with 3000g ZnO per ton of feed or the experimental diet, which comprised the tributyrin and monolaurin blend: Porcestin (PR). That diet include supplementation  with a basal level of ZnO at 150g/t and with the tested blend at 5kg/t of feed.

In a second trial, of six weeks duration, piglets were assigned to the same two treatments, said the team.

The results

In both trials, growth performance was similar between treatments, said the authors.

In trial 1, fecal counts of Lactobacillus spp.​ increased in pigs of PR group.

In both trials, histomorphometrical analysis of jejunum and ileum samples showed a thicker intestinal mucosa in favor of the PR treatment, and Foxp3-positive regulatory T cells increased together with a concomitant decrease of MPO-positive granulocytes in jejunal mucosa of piglets from the PR treatment, noted the researchers.

“Overall, supplementation of monolaurin and tributyrin blend compared to high ZnO levels resulted in similar growth performance. Moreover, beneficial effects on small intestinal morphometry and immune cells responses indicate its ability to attenuate inflammatory processes.”

The team said, though, that further research is necessary to optimize the use of the product assessed in the study.

Source: Research in Veterinary Science

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2022.01.011

Title: Effects of a tributyrin and monolaurin blend compared to high ZnO levels on growth performance, faecal microbial counts, intestinal histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry in weaned piglets: A field study in two pig herds

Authors: GA Papadopoulos et al 

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