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Effect of inclusion of lactulose and Lactobacillus plantarum on the intestinal environment and performance of piglets at weaning

Guerra-Ordaz, A. A., Molist, F., Hermes, R. G., Gómez de Segura, A., La Ragione, R. M., Woodward, M. J., Tchorzewska, M. A., Collins, J. W., Pérez, J. F. and Martin-Orúe, S. M. (2013) Effect of inclusion of lactulose and Lactobacillus plantarum on the intestinal environment and performance of piglets at weaning. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 185 (3-4). pp. 160-168. ISSN 0377-8401

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2013.07.009


The prebiotic lactulose, a probiotic strain of Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum) and a synbiotic combination of these two agents were evaluated as growth promoters in 25–39-day old commercial weaning pigs. Ninety-six weaning pigs were allocated into 32 pens, taking initial weight into account, and distributed into four groups as follows: a control diet (CTR), the same diet supplemented daily with L. plantarum (109 CFU/mL sprayed on top; 20 mL/pig) (LPN); 10 g/kg lactulose (LAC) or a combination of both treatments (SYN). At day 14, eight piglets from each group were euthanized and proximal colon digesta was sampled for luminal pH, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and lactic acid concentrations. Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted from colonic digesta and the microbial community was profiled by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis (T-RFLP) and qPCR. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and acute-phase proteins (Pig-MAP) were measured. Lactulose treatment (LAC) improved feed intake (P<0.05), average daily gain (P<0.01), feed:gain ratio (P<0.05) and reduced BUN (P<0.01). Both, LAC and LPN treatment, decreased the Enterobacteriaceae:Lactobacillus spp. ratio in the colonic luminal contents (P<0.05). Moreover LPN treatment promoted a decrease in the percentage of branched fatty acids (P<0.01) suggesting a reduction in proteolytic microbial activity. Microbial profiling of colonic luminal contents by T-RFLP revealed changes in some microbial species. Terminal restriction fragments (TRFs) compatible with Bifidobacterium thermoacidophilum were more frequently detected in experimental diets compared to CTR (P<0.05). Pigs receiving SYN diet demonstrated the combined positive effects of individual LAC and LPN treatment although we were not able to show a specific increase in the probiotic strain with the inclusion of lactulose. Collectively, these data suggest the combination of lactulose and L. plantarum acts as a complementary synbiotic, but not as a synergistic combination.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences > Food Microbial Sciences Research Group
ID Code:36516
Uncontrolled Keywords:Lactobacillus plantarum; Lactulose; Piglets; Synbiotic; Weaning

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