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Interpretive Summary: Functional amino acid supplementation, regardless of dietary protein content, improves growth performance and immune status of weaned pigs challenged with Salmonella Typhimurium

By Anne Zinn

High dietary protein can potentially increase susceptibility of weaned pigs to enteric pathogens; it has been hypothesized that dietary supplementation with functional amino acids may improve growth performance of pigs during disease challenge. A recent study, published in the Journal of Animal Science, aimed to determine whether supplementation of functional amino acids would improve growth performance and immune status of Salmonella-challenged weaned pigs and whether the effect of functional amino acids is dependent on dietary protein content. Growth performance, body temperature, fecal score, acute-phase proteins, oxidant/antioxidant balance, Salmonella Typhimurium shedding score in feces and intestinal colonization, fecal and digesta myeloperoxidase, and plasma urea nitrogen were measured pre- and post inoculation.

The results demonstrate that diet supplementation with key functional amino acids above estimated requirements for growth improves growth performance and immune status of pigs, regardless of dietary protein content. The data also suggests that the positive effects of these functional amino acids are due to beneficial effects on intestinal health and antioxidant defense systems, reducing the overt immune response, even with no impact on Salmonella presence in lymphoid tissues.

The full paper can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.