7. Microbiota development in piglets

H. De Vries, H. Smidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Starting at birth, the intestinal microbiota of piglets develops rapidly from a simple to a more stable, mature ecosystem, following a highly dynamic developmental trajectory that includes a strong disturbance particularly around the time of weaning. The microbiota in the gastro-intestinal tract of piglets plays numerous beneficial roles. Apart from its fermentation activity, the microbiota also stimulates a proper development of gut physiology, host immunity and general well-being of the piglet. Conventional methods to prevent gut-related issues include the use of antimicrobial growth promoters and the inclusion of zinc oxide in feed. As these conventional methods have several drawbacks, new methods are being developed to improve gut microbiota development and thereby prevent gut-related issues. Of these new methods, the inclusion of fibrous components in feed and the administration of probiotics are thought to be the most promising. To date, several in vivo studies have shown the effectiveness of including fibrous components or probiotics in feed. Although results are promising in a number of these studies, optimal inclusion rates of fibrous components are still to be found, and the use of probiotics also comes with some practical obstacles. This chapter reviews the available literature on the subject and offers a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved in the use of conventional and innovative methods to ameliorate impaired piglet gut health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe suckling and weaned piglet
EditorsChantal Farmer
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868940
ISBN (Print)9789086863433
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2020


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