Dietary nucleotide supplementation reduces occurrence of diarrhoea in early weaned pigs

In early weaned piglets dietary nucleotide supplementation improves intestinal maturation and reduces diarrhoea incidence.
Thursday 13 September 2007 (10 years 10 months 10 days ago)
Nucleotides are present in commercial post-weaning diets, but the content may be insufficient to allow a proper development of tissues, like the lymphoid tissue or the intestines, that are dependent on the exogenous supply. The objective of the work was to study the effect of nucleotide supplementation of diets fed to early-weaned piglets on intestinal morphometry, productive performance and diarrhoea incidence.

The first step was to determine the nucleotide composition of sow's milk in order to design a yeast concentrate that when used as in-feed additive may provide the same amount than sow's milk. Then, two experiments were carried out; the first was a study in which the intestinal development after 7 days post-weaning of piglets receiving a diet supplemented (1000 or 2000 ppm) or not supplemented (Control) with nnucleotides was compared to unweaned piglet intestinal development. The second study, a performance experiment, involved 384 weaned piglets distributed into three experimental treatments: control, 750 ppm and 1000 ppm of yeast concentrate.

Results from the first trial indicated that while unweaned piglets showed the highest height of intestinal villus, reductions on the height were found in weaned piglets. However, the inclusion of yeast concentrate in the diet resulted in a lower decrease compared to that found in the Control fed piglets (P<0.001, 39% vs 22% for 1000 ppm and 16% for 2000 ppm). Results obtained in the second experiment, showed that although piglet performance was not modified by the nucleotide addition, the number of parenteral antibiotic treatments was lower in the supplemented diet: 15% for control diet, 3% for 750 ppm diet, and 1.5% for 1000 ppm diet.

Overall, results from the experiments may show that the improved intestinal maturation when nucleotides are included in the diet can reduce the onset of diarrhoea in weaned piglets.

D Martínez-Puig, EG Manzanilla, J Morales, E Borda, JF Pérez, C Piñeiro, C Chetrit. 2007. Livestock Science 108: 276-279

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