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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Authors: McCormack, UM; Curião, T; Metzler-Zebeli, BU; Wilkinson, T; Reyer, H; Crispie, F; Cotter, PD; Creevey, CJ; Gardiner, GE; Lawlor, PG

Title: Seeking to improve feed efficiency in pigs through microbial modulation via fecal microbiota transplantation in sows and dietary supplementation of offspring with inulin.

Source: Appl Environ Microbiol. 2019; 85(22):01255-19

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Metzler-Zebeli Barbara

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Physiology, Pathohysiology and Biophysics, Unit of Nutritional Physiology

Project(s): A whole-system approach to optimising feed efficiency and reducing the ecological footprints of monogastrics

As previous studies have demonstrated a link between the porcine intestinal microbiome and feed efficiency (FE), microbiota manipulation may offer a means of improving FE in pigs. A fecal microbiota transplantation procedure (FMTp), using fecal extracts from highly feed-efficient pigs, was performed in pregnant sows ( n  = 11), with a control group ( n  = 11) receiving no FMTp. At weaning, offspring were allocated, within sow treatment, to (i) control ( n  = 67; no dietary supplement) or (ii) inulin ( n  = 65; 6-week dietary inulin supplementation) treatments. The sow FMTp, alone or in combination with inulin supplementation in offspring, reduced offspring body weight by 8.1 to 10.6 kg at ∼140 days of age, but there was no effect on feed intake. It resulted in better FE, greater bacterial diversity, and higher relative abundances of potentially beneficial bacterial taxa ( Fibrobacter and Prevotella ) in offspring. Due to the FMTp and/or inulin supplementation, relative abundances of potential pathogens ( Chlamydia and Treponema ) in the ileum and cecal concentrations of butyric acid were significantly lower. The maternal FMTp led to a greater number of jejunal goblet cells in offspring. Inulin supplementation alone did not affect growth or FE but upregulated duodenal genes linked to glucose and volatile fatty acid homeostasis and increased the mean platelet volume but reduced ileal propionic acid concentrations, granulocyte counts, and serum urea concentrations. Overall, the FMTp in pregnant sows, with or without dietary inulin supplementation in offspring, beneficially modulated offspring intestinal microbiota (albeit mostly low-relative-abundance taxa) and associated physiological parameters. Although FE was improved, the detrimental effect on growth limits the application of this FMTp-inulin strategy in commercial pig production.

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