Effect of pea, pea hulls, faba beans and faba bean hulls on the ileal microbial composition in weaned piglets

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Grain legumes produced in Europe such as pea, faba beans and lupins are alternative vegetable protein sources for imported soy protein in animal feeds. These legume seeds contain constituents that are not digested and may act as a substrate for microbial fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby modulating the microbial population and affecting the microbial diversity. In this study the effect was evaluated of inclusion of pea and faba beans and their hull fractions in diets for piglets on the intestinal microbial population at the ileal level. A total of 72 piglets weaned at 28 days of age were fed a control diet based on soybean meal or diets with pea (250 g/kg), pea hulls (100 g/kg), faba beans (250 g/kg) or faba bean hulls (100 g/kg). All piglets were challenged orally with an enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) 7 days after weaning, except for half of the piglets fed the soybean meal diet that were inoculated with phosphate buffered saline. The piglets were sacrificed 21 days after weaning and ileal digesta samples were collected and analysed with a terminal restriction fraction length polymorphism based method of Microbial Community Profiling and Characterization. From 10 days after the challenge, there was no faecal excretion of ETEC in any of the piglets. There was a distinct different microbial profile in the piglets fed the diet with faba beans or faba bean hulls, showing a lower number of terminal restriction fragments (T-RFs) compared to the other treatments. Such an alteration in the ileal microflora composition by the use of different legume seeds or their hull fractions suggests a potential for the manipulation of intestinal microbial activity and thus in preventing or provoking intestinal disorders in piglets
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-137
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • growing pigs
  • populations
  • colon
  • diets


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