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Pigs that are divergent in feed efficiency, differ in intestinal enzyme and nutrient transporter gene expression, nutrient digestibility and microbial activity

  • S. Vigors (a1), T. Sweeney (a2), C. J. O’Shea (a3), A. K. Kelly (a1) and J. V. O’Doherty (a1)...

Abstract

Feed efficiency is an important trait in the future sustainability of pig production, however, the mechanisms involved are not fully elucidated. The objective of this study was to examine nutrient digestibility, organ weights, select bacterial populations, volatile fatty acids (VFA’s), enzyme and intestinal nutrient transporter gene expression in a pig population divergent in feed efficiency. Male pigs (n=75; initial BW 22.4 kg SEM 2.03 kg) were fed a standard finishing diet for 43 days before slaughter to evaluate feed intake and growth for the purpose of calculating residual feed intake (RFI). Phenotypic RFI was calculated as the residuals from a regression model regressing average daily feed intake (ADFI) on average daily gain (ADG) and midtest BW0.60 (MBW). On day 115, 16 pigs (85 kg SEM 2.8 kg), designated as high RFI (HRFI) and low RFI (LRFI) were slaughtered and digesta was collected to calculate the coefficient of apparent ileal digestibility (CAID), total tract nutrient digestibility (CATTD), microbial populations and VFA’s. Intestinal tissue was collected to examine intestinal nutrient transporter and enzyme gene expression. The LRFI pigs had lower ADFI (P<0.001), improved feed conversion ratio (P<0.001) and an improved RFI value relative to HRFI pigs (0.19 v. −0.14 SEM 0.08; P<0.001). The LRFI pigs had an increased CAID of gross energy (GE), and an improved CATTD of GE, nitrogen and dry matter compared to HRFI pigs (P<0.05). The LRFI pigs had higher relative gene expression levels of fatty acid binding transporter 2 (FABP2) (P<0.01), the sodium/glucose co-transporter 1 (SGLT1) (P<0.05), the glucose transporter GLUT2 (P<0.10), and the enzyme sucrase–isomaltase (SI) (P<0.05) in the jejunum. The LRFI pigs had increased populations of lactobacillus spp. in the caecum compared with HRFI pigs. In colonic digesta HRFI pigs had increased acetic acid concentrations (P<0.05). Differences in nutrient digestibility, intestinal microbial populations and gene expression levels of intestinal nutrient transporters could contribute to the biological processes responsible for feed efficiency in pigs.

Copyright

Corresponding author

E-mail: john.vodoherty@ucd.ie

References

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