Effects of zinc oxide and Enterococcus faecium SF68 dietary supplementation on the performance, intestinal microbiota and immune status of weaned piglets

Broom, L.J.; Miller, H.M.; Kerr, K.G.; Knapp, J.S.

Research in Veterinary Science 80(1): 45-54


ISSN/ISBN: 0034-5288
PMID: 15946717
DOI: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2005.04.004
Accession: 004425236

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The objective of this study was to determine the effects of zinc oxide (ZnO) and the probiotic Enterococcus faecium SF68 (CylactinReg.) dietary supplementation on the performance, intestinal microbiota and immune parameters of the weaned piglet reared under commercial conditions. The diets were devoid of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP). Two hundred and eight crossbred piglets were allocated to a 2x2 factorial experiment involving two levels of zinc oxide supplementation (0 or 3100 mg ZnO/kg feed), and two levels of E. faecium SF68 supplementation (0 or 1.4x109 CFU/kg feed (CylactinReg. ME10)). The diets were offered ad libitum for 20 days post-weaning. Piglet performance was assessed by calculating average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) on a pen basis. In addition, components of the distal ileal digesta, tissue-associated and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) bacterial populations were enumerated and serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) and intestinal immunoglobulin A (IgA) concentrations were determined on days 6 and 20 post-weaning. Regression analysis was used to determine the relationship between the bacterial populations at the different sites. Supplementation of the post-weaning diet with either ZnO or E. faecium SF68 did not affect piglet performance. E. faecium SF68 did not affect gastrointestinal bacterial populations but did tend to reduce serum IgG (P<0.1) on day 20. Zinc oxide reduced anaerobic (P<0.05) and tended to decrease lactic acid (P<0.1) bacterial translocation to the MLN, and tended to increase intestinal IgA concentration (P<0.1) on day 20. Generally, luminal bacterial populations were found to be poor predictors of tissue-associated or MLN populations. ZnO and E. faecium SF68 dietary supplementation were ineffective under these trial conditions. Further investigations into the possible immunomodulator role of dietary ZnO are warranted.