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Interpretive Summary: Impacts of lysed Corynebacterium glutamicum cell mass on the health and growth of nursery piglets

By: Anne Kamiya, MS

Single cell proteins (SCP) are nutrient dense and derived from various economical sources including bacteria and yeast. However, the safety profile of SCP and its and impact on production in farm animals are still under investigation. 

In this recent Journal of Animal Science study, researchers evaluated the usefulness of lysed bacterial Corynebacterium glutamicum cell mass (CGCM) as a potential alternative protein supplement in pig feed. A total of 32 nursery pigs were fed one of four diets for 21 days. One diet contained no CGCM whereas the other three diets contained increasing amounts of CGCM, up to a maximum of 2.1 percent of feed, replacing blood plasma. Fecal scores and markers of growth performance were monitored throughout the study, including body weight (BW), average daily gain (ADG), gain to feed ratio (G:F) and average daily feed intake (ADFI). At the end of the study, ileal digesta and small intestinal tissue were collected and analyzed for tissue morphology, markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, and gut microbiota composition. 

This study concluded that feeding CGCM at 1.2 percent or less had negative impacts on the gut microbiota and immune health of pigs but feeding CGCM at 2.1 percent had positive impacts on growth performance, gut immunity, and gut microbiota. The authors hypothesized this effect was due to the functional benefits of blood plasma being lost when it was replaced by lower amounts of CGCM (with a minimum of 2.1 percent required to prevent negative impacts). 

Overall, the results of this study suggest that CGCM does have potential as an alternative feed replacement in the diets of pigs, however, careful attention needs to be placed on how much CGCM is added to the diet. More studies into the usefulness of CGCM and other SCP as alternative protein sources in piglet diets is justified.  

The original article, Nutritional and functional values of lysed Corynebacterium glutamicum cell mass for intestinal health and growth of nursery pigs, will soon be viewable in the Journal of Animal Science.