Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems
Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems

Feed efficiency and the faecal microbiome at slaughter weight in pigs

Authors: 
Verschuren, L.M.G., Calus, M.P.L.; Jansman, A.J.M.; Bergsma, R.; Knol, E.F.; Gilbert, H. ; Zemb, O.
Publication date: 
28 August 2017
Full title: 
Feed efficiency and the faecal microbiome at slaughter weight in pigs
Publishing information: 
68th EAAP Annual meeting, 28 August - 1 September 2017, Tallinn, Estonia
Abstract: 

Feed efficiency (FE) is an important trait in the pig industry, as feed costs are responsible for the major part of production costs. Availability in the market and cost of feed ingredients dictate changes in feed composition. As a result, fibre level and composition can vary between pig diets. Microbiota in the gastrointestinal tract play an important role in fibre digestion, because they produce enzymes that break down fibre structures and deliver volatile fatty acids to the pig. These volatile fatty acids can be used as metabolic energy source. As such, microbial fermentation could influence FE in pigs. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between FE and faecal microbiome in commercial grower-finisher pigs. Three-way crossbreed grower-finisher pigs (154) were either fed a diet based on corn/soybean meal (CS) or a diet based on wheat/barley (WB). Faecal samples were collected on the day before slaughter (mean bodyweight 122 kg) and sequenced for the V3V4 16S ribosomal DNA regions. Sequences were clustered according to operational taxonomic units (OTU) for each individual, forming a table of OTU abundancy. A partial least square regression was applied to the dataset, together with a discriminant analysis using principal components of FE extreme groups (10 high and 10 low FE animals for each diet x sex-combination). Pigs on different diets and males vs. females had a very distinct microbiome, needing only two OTUs for diet (P=0.018) and 18 OTUs for sex (P=0.002) to separate the groups. Faecal microbiome was not related to FE groups fed the CS diet, but there were sex specific OTUs related to FE in the male and female pigs in the groups fed the WB diet. In conclusion, our results show a diet and sex dependent relationship between the faecal microbial composition and FE in grower-finisher pigs at slaughter weight. This study is part of the Feed-a-Gene Project, funded from the European Union’s H2020 Programme under grant agreement no 633531.

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