November 11, 2019

Interpretive Summary: Clostridium butyricum and Enterococcus faecalis in weaned pigs

Interpretive Summary: Effects of Clostridium butyricum and Enterococcus faecalis on growth performance, intestinal structure, and inflammation in lipopolysaccharide-challenged weaned piglets

By: Anne Wallace

It has been well established that the addition of antibiotics to animal feed reduces the incidence of diarrhea and improves growth performance. However, due to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, alternatives to antibiotics are needed.

In this study published in the October 2019 issue of the Journal of Animal Science, researchers evaluated how the addition of two bacteria – Clostridium butyricum and Enterococcus faecalis – to feed affected the growth performance, gut health, and inflammatory markers in weaned piglets. Piglets were challenged with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which increases inflammation and the immune response.

A total of 180 weaned piglets were challenged with LPS and fed one of three different diets: a control basal diet, the basal diet with added C. butyricum, and the basal diet with added E. faecalis. Results indicated that pigs who consumed feed with the added bacteria had higher final body weights than the control pigs. In addition, inflammatory markers in the blood were also lower and small bowel health was improved over controls. There was also more alpha diversity in the gut bacteria in LPS challenged piglets that were fed C. butyricum or E. faecalis, particularly with probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species.

Overall, the results of this study suggest that the addition of beneficial bacteria such as C. butyricum or E. faecalis to feed may improve the health and growth of weaned piglets. Future studies looking at other potentially probiotic or beneficial bacterial species, or the effects of a combination of species on the health and performance of weaned piglets is justified.