Intestinal metabolism of weaned piglets fed a typical United States or European diet with or without supplementation of tributyrin and lactitol


The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of supplementation of a microencapsulated blend of tributyrin and lactitol (TL) to a standard European (EU) diet without antibiotic growth promoters on intestinal metabolism and mucosa development of weaned piglets and to compare it with a standard US diet containing animal proteins, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, and carbadox.

Ninety piglets weaned at 21 d were divided into 3 dietary groups consisting of 5 replicates each: 1) US diet supplemented with 55 mg/kg of carbadox, and 2.5% each of plasma proteins and spray-dried blood cells in the first phase, 3,055 mg/kg of Zn in the first and second phases, and 180 mg/kg of Cu in the third phase; 2) EU diet based on vegetable proteins and no antibiotics; and 3) the same EU diet supplemented with 3,000 mg/kg of microencapsulated TL. The study was divided into 3 phases: 0 to 7, 8 to 21, and 22 to 35 d. On d 7, 21, and 35, animals were weighed, and feed consumption and efficiency were determined. On d 14 and 35, one pig per pen was killed, and the intestinal contents and mucosa from the proximal, middle, distal jejunum and the ileum were sampled. Intestinal wall sections were fixed for histological analysis, and intestinal content was used for VFA, ammonia, and polyamine analysis.

Throughout the study (d 0 to 35), the US diet had greater ADG and ADFI than the EU diet (P < 0.05). The EU diet supplemented with TL tended to have 11% greater ADG (P = 0.17). Feeding the EU diet caused a reduction in proximal and middle jejunum villi length by 10% (P < 0.05) and an increase in crypt size in proximal jejunum (P < 0.05) compared with the US diet, probably due to an increased rate of cell loss and crypt cell production. The TL supplementation resulted in longer villi along the jejunum and less deep crypts in the proximal jejunum (+15.9 and −8.9%, respectively; P < 0.05) than the unsupplemented EU diet. The TL diet increased the concentrations of cadaverine and putrescine in the small intestine (P < 0.05) and seemed to increase cadaverine, histamine, putrescine, and spermine in the large intestine by 1.5- to 10-fold compared with the US or EU diet.

In conclusion, although the US diet had a greater effect on growth performance and mucosal trophic status than the EU diets, the supplementation with slowly released TL seemed to be an effective tool to partially overcome the adverse effects of vegetable protein diets.For more information: marketing@vetagro.comRead the full text here.