Changes in the fermentation end-product profile in the GIT of piglets during post-colostrum suckling period

A. Awati, S. D'Urso, B.A. Williams, M. Bosch, M.W.A. Verstegen

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Pre-weaning development of microbial activity has an effect on post-weaning establishment of the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) microbiota. An in vivo study was conducted, to evaluate the effect of age on fermentation end-product profiles during the post-colostrum suckling period, as the variation in composition of mature milk is minimum. Sixteen piglets from two litters (eight per litter) were selected. During the study, piglets had free access to sow's milk, but no creep feed, nor antibiotic treatments. Two piglets from each litter were sacrificed on d 11, 18, 25 and 32 of age. The digesta samples were collected from the beginning and end of the small intestine, caecum and colon. Samples were analyzed for fermentation end-product concentrations. Combining the results from all the GIT sites, it was observed that, total VFA concentration increased with age of the piglets. There was a significant rise in acetic acid concentrations, with a significant decrease in lactic acid concentrations from d11 to d32, while the proportions of SCFA, (acetic acid 72%, propionic acid 15% and butyric acid 6% of total VFA) and ammonia concentrations remained unchanged. These results clearly suggest that, the microbial activity in terms of fermentation end-product profile skewed from lactic acid to acetic acid as a major product during the post-colostrum suckling period. This may be attributed to lower substrate availability due to increased number of microbes or increased diversity in the microbiota in time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-158
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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