Interpretive Summary: Effects of dietary crude protein level and sodium butyrate protected by medium-chain fatty acid salts on performance and gut health in weaned piglets
By: Meritxell Sadurní, Ana Cristina Barroeta, Cinta Sol, Mónica Puyalto, Lorena Castillejos
Reducing dietary levels of crude protein (CP) and the use of feed-additives such as sodium butyrate protected by medium-chain fatty acid salts are currently under investigation as nutritional strategies with beneficial effects on the intestinal barrier, and consequently on the health of weaned piglets. The intestinal barrier is a dynamic complex ecosystem that includes morphological structure and microbial composition. Reducing CP intake from 22.2% to 18.8% in piglets was found here to compromise their growth 2 wk after weaning. However, considering the effect of reducing CP on gut health, crypt depth was reduced and the Lactobacillus population was expanded in the ileum and diminished in the colon. In addition, organic matter digestibility and fecal consistency were improved. Supplementation with sodium butyrate protected by the sodium salts of medium-chain fatty acids at 1 kg/t increased the number of mucin-secreting cells, thereby reinforcing the intestinal barrier, and improving ileal digestibility. In addition, it modified the microbiota in the colon. These findings on different parameters of intestinal barrier prompt further investigation into the effects of both strategies on gut health and growth performance of piglets.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.