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The effect of lactose and inulin on intestinal morphology, selected microbial populations and volatile fatty acid concentrations in the gastro-intestinal tract of the weanling pig


The effect of lactose and inulin on intestinal morphology, selected microbial populations and volatile fatty acid concentrations in the gastro-intestinal tract of the weanling pig



Animal science: an international journal of fundamental and applied research 82(3): 311-318



DOI: 10.1079/asc200634

Twenty piglets (21 days, 7.8 kg live weight (LW)) were used in a 2x2 factorial to investigate interactions between lactose and inulin on intestinal morphology, microbiology and volatile fatty acid (VFA) production of the weanling pig. The piglets were offered the following diets for 6 days and then sacrificed: (T1) 150 g/kg lactose, (T2) 150 g/kg lactose +15 g/kg inulin, (T3) 330 g/kg lactose, and (T4) 330 g/kg lactose +15 g/kg inulin. Tissue samples were taken from the duodenum, jejunum and ileum for morphological measurements. Digesta samples were taken from the ileum, caecum and colon. There was an interaction (P<0.05) between lactose and inulin in villous height in the jejunum. The inclusion of inulin at 150 g/kg lactose increased villous height compared with 150 g/kg lactose without inulin. However, inulin had no effect on villous height at 330 g/kg lactose inclusion. There was a linear relationship between food intake and villous height in the duodenum (P<0.001, R2=0.45) and the jejunum (P<0.01, R2=0.25). The inclusion of 330 g/kg lactose increased (P<0.05) total VFA compared with 150 g/kg lactose in the caecum and the population of lactobacilli in the caecum and colon (P<0.1). There was an interaction (P<0.05) between lactose and inulin for total VFA concentration in the colon. The pigs receiving 330 g/kg lactose had a higher total VFA concentration compared with pigs on 150 g/kg lactose. However, there was no difference between 150 g/kg and 330 g/kg lactose when the diets were supplemented with inulin. In conclusion, the inclusion of high dietary concentrations of lactose resulted in increased lactobacilli and short-chain fatty acid concentrations. The inclusion of inulin with low dietary concentrations of lactose resulted in improved intestinal health through a reduction of intestinal pH and increases in villous height.

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