Skip to main content Accessibility help

Health-promoting effects of Lactobacillus-fermented barley in weaned pigs challenged with Escherichia coli K88 +

  • B. Koo (a1), D. Bustamante-García (a2), J. W. Kim (a1) and C. M. Nyachoti (a1)


Fermented feeds are being considered as practical alternatives to antimicrobial growth promoters (AGP) supplemented in nursery pig diets. This study aimed to investigate health-promoting effects of fermented barley in weaned pigs challenged with Escherichia coli K88 +. A total of 37 piglets were weaned at 21 ± 1 day of age (6.41 ± 0.47 kg of BW) and assigned to either of the following five treatment groups: (1) unchallenged control (UCC; n = 7), (2) challenged control (CC; n = 7), (3) AGP (CC + 0.1% AGP; n = 7), (4) Ferm1 (challenged and fed homofermentative Lactobacillus plantarum (Homo)-fermented barley; n = 8) and (5) Ferm2 (challenged and fed heterofermentative L. buchneri (Hetero)-fermented barley; n = 8). The control diet included unfermented barley. Barley was fermented with either Homo or Hetero for 90 days under anaerobic conditions. On day 10, all pigs except those in UCC group were orally inoculated with E. coli K88 + (6 × 109 colony forming units/ml). The pre-planned orthogonal test was performed to compare (1) UCC and CC, (2) CC and AGP, (3) CC and Ferm1 + Ferm2, as well as (4) Ferm1 and Ferm2. Challenged control pigs showed shorter (P < 0.05) villus height (VH) in the duodenum and deeper (P < 0.05) crypt depth (CD) in the jejunum than UCC pigs. The AGP group had higher (P < 0.05) VH and lower (P < 0.05) IL-6 gene expression in the jejunum compared with CC group. Compared to CC, Ferm1 and Ferm2 had decreased (P < 0.05) CD in the duodenum, IL-6 gene expression in the jejunum and rectal temperature at 24 h post-challenge. Pigs fed fermented barley diets showed greater (P < 0.05) faecal abundance of Clostridium Cluster IV and Lactobacilli than those fed UCC diet. Ferm2-fed pigs showed lower (P < 0.05) concentrations of band cells, eosinophils and lymphocytes at 6, 24 and 48 h after challenge, respectively, and lower (P < 0.05) faecal abundance of Enterobacteriaceae 24 h after challenge than the Ferm1-fed pigs. In conclusion, the substitution of unfermented barley with fermented barley in a nursery diet showed similar results as those shown by AGP supplementation in terms of enhancing the intestinal morphology and modulating faecal microbiota composition, as well as down-regulating the pro-inflammatory cytokines; therefore, fermented barley can be a possible nutritional strategy for managing nursery pigs fed diets without in-feed AGP.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) 2006. Official methods of analysis, 18th edition. Washington, DC. AOAC, Arlington, VA, USA.
Blumenreich, MS 1990. The white blood cell and differential count. In Clinical methods: the history, physical, laboratory examinations (ed. Walker, HK, Hall, WD and Hurst, JW), 3rd edition, pp. 724727. Butterworth Publishers, Oxford, UK.
Broadway, PR, Carroll, JA, Burdick Sanchez, NC, Bass, BE and Frank, JW 2016. Supplementation of a Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product can attenuate the acute phase response following a lipopolysaccharide challenge in pigs. Journal of Animal Science 94, 144.
Canadian Council on Animal Care 2009. Guidelines on: the care and use of farm animals in research, teaching and testing. CCAC, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Croxen, MA and Finlay, BB 2009. Molecular mechanisms of Escherichia coli pathogenicity. Nature Reviews Microbiology 8, 26.
Dibner, J and Buttin, P 2002. Use of organic acids as a model to study the impact of gut microflora on nutrition and metabolism. The Journal of Applied Poultry Research 11, 453463.
Dibner, JJ and Richards, JD 2005. Antibiotic growth promoters in agriculture: history and mode of action. Poultry Science 84, 634643.
Gadde, U, Kim, WH, Oh, ST and Lillehoj, HS 2017. Alternatives to antibiotics for maximizing growth performance and feed efficiency in poultry: a review. Animal Health Research Review 18, 2645.
Gaskins, HR, Collier, CT and Anderson, DB 2002. Antibiotics as growth promotants: mode of action. Animal Biotechnology 13, 2942.
Goering, HK and van Soest, PJ 1970. Forage fiber analyses (apparatus, reagents, procedures, and some applications) Agriculture Handbook No. 379. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, USA.
Harvey, RB, Anderson, RC, Genovese, KJ, Callaway, TR and Nisbet, DJ 2005. Use of competitive exclusion to control enterotoxigenic strains of Escherichia coli in weaned pigs. Journal of Animal Science 83, E44E47.
Hasday, JD, Fairchild, KD and Shanholtz, C 2000. The role of fever in the infected host. Microbes and Infection 2, 18911904.
Holzer, M, Mayrhuber, E, Danner, H and Braun, R 2003. The role of Lactobacillus buchneri in forage preservation. Trends in Biotechnology 21, 282287.
Jayaraman, B, Regassa, A, Htoo, JK and Nyachoti, CM 2017. Effects of dietary standardized ileal digestible tryptophan:lysine ratio on performance, plasma urea nitrogen, ileal histomorphology and immune responses in weaned pigs challenged with Escherichia coli K88. Livestock Science 203, 114119.
Kiarie, E, Bhandari, S, Scott, M, Krause, DO and Nyachoti, CM 2011. Growth performance and gastrointestinal microbial ecology responses of piglets receiving Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products after an oral challenge with Escherichia coli (K88). Journal of Animal Science 89, 10621078.
Konstantinov, SR, Smidt, H, Akkermans, ADL, Casini, L, Trevisi, P, Mazzoni, M, De Filippi, S, Bosi, P and De Vos, WM 2008. Feeding of Lactobacillus sobrius reduces Escherichia coli F4 levels in the gut and promotes growth of infected piglets. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 66, 599607.
Koo, B, Bustamante-Garcia, D and Nyachoti, C 2018a. 353 Effects of Lactobacillus-fermented barley on intestinal morphology, cytokine gene expression, and fecal microbiota in weaned pigs challenged with Escherichia coli K88 +. Journal of Animal Science 96, 176176.
Koo, B, Bustamante-García, D and Nyachoti, CM 2018b. Energy content and nutrient digestibility of diets containing Lactobacillus-fermented barley or wheat fed to weaned pigs. Journal of Animal Science 96, 48024811.
Koo, B, Kim, JW and Nyachoti, CM 2018c. Nutrient and energy digestibility, and microbial metabolites in weaned pigs fed diets containing Lactobacillus-fermented wheat. Animal Feed Science and Technology 241, 2737.
Lallès, J-P, Boudry, G, Favier, C, Floc’h, NL, Luron, I, Montagne, L, Oswald, IP, Pié, S, Piel, C and Sève, B 2004. Gut function and dysfunction in young pigs: physiology. Animal Research 53, 301316.
Le, MHA, Galle, S, Yang, Y, Landero, JL, Beltranena, E, Gänzle, MG and Zijlstra, RT 2016. Effects of feeding fermented wheat with Lactobacillus reuteri on gut morphology, intestinal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, and growth performance in weaned pigs. Journal of Animal Science 94, 46774687.
Levine, UY, Looft, T, Allen, HK and Stanton, TB 2013. Butyrate-producing bacteria, including mucin degraders, from the swine intestinal tract. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 79, 38793881.
Liu, H, Zhang, J, Zhang, S, Yang, F, Thacker, PA, Zhang, G, Qiao, S and Ma, X 2014. Oral Administration of Lactobacillus fermentum I5007 favors intestinal development and alters the intestinal microbiota in formula-fed piglets. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 62, 860866.
Livak, KJ and Schmittgen, TD 2001. Analysis of relative gene expression data using real-time quantitative PCR and the 2−ΔΔCT method. Methods 25, 402408.
Loh, TC, Thanh, NT, Foo, HL, Hair-Bejo, M and Azhar, BK 2010. Feeding of different levels of metabolite combinations produced by Lactobacillus plantarum on growth performance, fecal microflora, volatile fatty acids and villi height in broilers. Animal Science Journal 81, 205214.
National Center for Biotechnology Information 2018. Enterobacteriaceae family. Retrieved on 3 December 2018 from
National Research Council 2012. Nutrient requirements of swine, 11th revised edition. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Nyachoti, CM, Kiarie, E, Bhandari, SK, Zhang, G and Krause, DO 2012. Weaned pig responses to Escherichia coli K88 oral challenge when receiving a lysozyme supplement. Journal of Animal Science 90, 252260.
Scholten, RHJ, van der Peet-Schwering, CMC, den Hartog, LA, Balk, M, Schrama, JW and Verstegen, MWA 2002. Fermented wheat in liquid diets: effects on gastrointestinal characteristics in weanling piglets. Journal of Animal Science 80, 11791186.
Scholten, RHJ, van der Peet-Schwering, CMC, Verstegen, MWA, den Hartog, LA, Schrama, JW and Vesseur, PC 1999. Fermented co-products and fermented compound diets for pigs: a review. Animal Feed Science and Technology 82, 119.
Urlings, HAP, Mug, AJ, van ‘t Klooster, AT, Bijker, PGH, van Logtestijn, JG and van Gils, LGM 1993. Microbial and nutritional aspects of feeding fermented feed (poultry by-products) to pigs. Veterinary Quarterly 15, 146151.
van Winsen, RL, Urlings, BAP, Lipman, LJA, Snijders, JMA, Keuzenkamp, D, Verheijden, JHM and van Knapen, F 2001. Effect of fermented feed on the microbial population of the gastrointestinal tracts of pigs. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 67, 30713076.
Waititu, SM, Yin, F, Patterson, R, Rodriguez-Lecompte, JC and Nyachoti, CM 2016. Short-term effect of supplemental yeast extract without or with feed enzymes on growth performance, immune status and gut structure of weaned pigs challenged with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology 7, 64.
Waititu, SM, Yin, F, Patterson, R, Yitbarek, A, Rodriguez-Lecompte, JC and Nyachoti, CM 2017. Dietary supplementation with a nucleotide-rich yeast extract modulates gut immune response and microflora in weaned pigs in response to a sanitary challenge. Animal 11, 21562164.
Wu, S, Zhang, F, Huang, Z, Liu, H, Xie, C, Zhang, J, Thacker, PA and Qiao, S 2012. Effects of the antimicrobial peptide cecropin AD on performance and intestinal health in weaned piglets challenged with Escherichia coli . Peptides 35, 225230.
Xie, Z, Hu, L, Li, Y, Geng, S, Cheng, S, Fu, X, Zhao, S and Han, X 2017. Changes of gut microbiota structure and morphology in weaned piglets treated with fresh fermented soybean meal. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 33, 213.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Koo et al. supplementary material
Koo et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (63 KB)
63 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed