Interpretive Summary: Supplementation of palmitoleic acid improved piglet growth and reduced body temperature drop upon cold exposure
By: Takele Feyera, Saman Lashkari, Jakob C Johannsen, Eudald Llauradó-Calero, Li Zhe, Peter K Theil, Søren K Jensen
Reducing piglet mortality in the early days after birth is a significant challenge in the modern pig industry. The focus on achieving larger litter sizes has had a negative impact on piglets’ birth weight and their intake of colostrum. Additionally, piglets are born without easily oxidizable brown adipose tissue and have limited body reserves, making them more vulnerable to death due to their lower capacity for thermogenesis. Therefore, it is important to explore dietary strategies that can enhance piglets’ thermogenesis capacity. In this study, the role of palmitoleic acid supplementation was investigated in a dose-response design to determine its impact on growth performance, fatty acid composition, and energy metabolism of milk-replacer-fed piglets during their first week of life. The results revealed a linear increase in the average daily gain of the piglets, liver weight, and liver glycogen content with increasing palmitoleic acid supplementation. Moreover, increased palmitoleic acid supplementation was associated with a drop in body temperature when piglets were exposed to a lower temperature during the experimental period. Altogether, the study indicated that palmitoleic acid has a sparing effect on glycogen reserves and that a greater proportion of energy utilized by the piglets to maintain their body temperature was derived from the oxidation of fatty acids. The results indicated a promising approach to improve piglet survival and growth through dietary modifications of fatty acids in the diet.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.