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Dietary supplementation of weaned piglets with a yeast-derived mannan-rich fraction modulates cecal microbial profiles, jejunal morphology and gene expression

  • J. M. Fouhse (a1), K. Dawson (a2), D. Graugnard (a2), M. Dyck (a1) and B. P. Willing (a1)...


The development of nutritional strategies to improve microbial homeostasis and gut health of piglets post-weaning is required to mitigate the high prevalence of post-weaning diarrhea and subsequent growth checks typically observed during the weaning transition. Therefore the objective of this study was to determine the effect of supplementing piglet creep and nursery feed with a yeast-derived mannan-rich fraction (MRF) on piglet growth performance, cecal microbial profiles, and jejunal morphology and gene expression. Ten litters of piglets (n=106) were selected on postnatal day (PND) 7 and assigned to diets with or without MRF (800 mg/kg) until weaning (n=5 litters/treatment; initial weight 3.0±0.1 kg). On PND 21, 4 piglets per litter (n=40) were selected and weaned into the nursery where they remained on their respective diets until PND 42. A two-phase feeding program was used to meet nutrient requirements, and pigs were switched from phase 1 to phase 2 on PND 28. Feed intake and piglet weights were recorded on PND 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42. On PND 28 and 42, ten piglets per treatment were euthanized to collect intestinal tissue and digesta. Piglets supplemented with MRF had 21.5% greater (P<0.05) average daily feed intake between PND 14-21. However, MRF supplementation did not affect piglet growth performance compared to control. On PND 28, jejunal villus height was 16.8% greater (P<0.05) in piglets consuming MRF supplemented diets. Overall microbial community structure in cecal digesta on PND 28 tended to differ in pigs supplemented with MRF (P=0.076; analysis of similarities (ANOSIM)) with increased (P<0.05) relative abundance of Paraprevotellaceae genera YRC22 and CF231, and reduced (P<0.05) relative abundance of Sutterella and Prevotella. Campylobacter also tended to reduce (P<0.10) in MRF supplemented piglets. On PND 28 differential gene expression in jejunal tissue signified an overall effect of supplementing MRF to piglets. Downstream analysis of gene expression data revealed piglets supplemented with MRF had enriched biological pathways involved in intestinal development, function and immunity, supporting the observed improvement in jejunal villus architecture on PND 28. On PND 42 there was no effect of MRF supplementation on jejunal morphology or overall cecal microbial community structure. In conclusion, supplementing Actigen™, a MRF, to piglets altered cecal microbial community structure and improved jejunal morphology early post-weaning on PND 28, which is supported by enrichment of intestinal development pathways.


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