Effects of dietary supplementation of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on growth performance, immune status, antioxidant capacity and selected microbial populations of weaned piglets
Chen, J.; Long, L.; Jiang, Q.; Kang, B.; Li, Y.; Yin, J.
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 104(4): 1106-1115
Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs) are a complex mixture of highly branched and partially characterised polysaccharides and proteoglycans extracted from the goji berry. This mixture has great potential as a novel feed supplement for pigs. Two trials were conducted to evaluate the effects of supplementation with LBPs on the growth performance, immune status, antioxidant capacity and selected intestinal microbial populations in weaned piglets. In trial 1, a total of 400 weaned piglets [(Yorkshire × Landrace) × Duroc] with an average body weight (BW) of 6.34 ± 0.16 kg (21 days of age) were divided into five groups and fed a basal diet (control group) or a basal diet containing 1,000, 2,000, 4,000 or 6,000 mg/kg LBPs (supplemented at the expense of corn). Supplementation with 4,000 or 6,000 mg/kg LBPs for 2 weeks significantly increased the average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) of the pigs compared with the control group (p < .05). In trial 2, thirty-two 21-days-old weaned piglets (BW: 6.33 ± 0.11 kg) were allotted to a control group (fed with a basal diet) or an experimental group (basal diet containing 4,000 mg/kg LBPs). The experiment lasted for 14 days. Pigs fed LBP diets exhibited an increased ADG and ADFI, and a decreased diarrhoeal incidence compared with those fed the basal diets (p < .05). Supplementation with LBPs increased the serum IgG and IgM levels (p < .05). Dietary LBPs effectively promoted antioxidant defence properties through enhancing the activities of serum, liver superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), in addition to decreasing the malondialdehyde (MDA) content (p < .05). The addition of LBPs increased the amounts of Bacteroidetes in the ileum and caecum and the caecal contents of Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. (p < .05), while decreased the populations of Escherichia coli and Firmicutes in the ileum and caecum (p < .05) compared with the control group. Our results suggest that dietary supplementation with LBPs can enhance growth performance, immune status and antioxidant capacity, and improve the intestinal microbial populations of weaned piglets.