September 17, 2020

Interpretive Summary: Microencapsulated organic acids and essential oils in weaned piglets

Interpretive Summary: Effects of a microencapsulated formula of organic acids and essential oils on nutrient absorption, immunity, gut barrier function, and abundance of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli F4 in weaned piglets challenged with E. coli F4

By Anne Zinn

Postweaning diarrhea, which can lead to stunted growth, damaged gut health, and mortality in young piglets, is one of the most economically important issues in the swine industry; Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli F4 (ETEC F4) is one of the common pathogens associated with PWD. A variety of therapies, such as antibiotic growth promoters and high doses of copper and zinc, have been tested and used over the years, but there is still a need for cost-effective and eco-friendly alternatives. Therefore, a research team from the University of Manitoba set out to investigate the effects of microencapsulated organic aics (fumaric, malic, citric, and sorbic acids) and essential oils (thymol, vanillin, and eugenol) on growth performance, immune system, gut barrier function, nutrient absorption, and abundance of ETEC F4 in weaned piglets challenged with ETEC F4. The full study was recently published in the Journal of Animal Science.

Results of this study demonstrated that the ETEC F4 infection decreased growth performance, induced inflammatory response and diarrhea, damaged gut morphology, impaired digestive enzymes and nutrient transporters, and decreased the gut barrier integrity of weaned piglets. Additionally, the supplementation of Aureomycin increased mRNA expression of an amino acid transporter and gut permeability and the supplementation of microencapsulated OA and EO enhanced intestinal morphology and showed anti-diarrhea effects in weaned piglets challenged with ETEC F4. While the supplementation of AGP or microencapsulated organic acids and essential oils did not significantly attenuate the inflammation, the reduced digestive enzyme activities or the increase gut permeability in the piglets infected with ETEC F4, the microencapsulated organic acids and essential oils combination did partially enhance the gut health. These results imply that microencapsulated organic acids and essential oils combination can potentially be implemented in strategies for alternatives to antibiotics in swine production. Future studies are required for further validation.