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RESEARCH: Green tea and probiotics help to improve pig weight gain

A combination of green tea and probiotics exerts positive effects on pig weight gain, meat composition, blood parameters and immunity in pigs. The combination could be used as an alternative to antibiotics for growing-finishing pig feeds.

This was the result of a combined Korean-American study, carried out at the Sunchon National University, South Korea and the University of Missouri, USA.

The study was conducted to evaluate the effects of green tea by-product and green tea plus probiotics on the growth performance, carcass characteristics, meat quality, blood parameters and immunity of growing–finishing pigs. In total, 80 crossbreed growing pigs were assigned to receive four dietary treatments for a period of eight weeks. The dietary treatments were a basal diet (control), basal diet supplemented with 0.003% chlortetracycline (antibiotic), basal diet with 0.5% green tea by-product and basal diet containing 0.5% green tea plus probiotics.

Bodyweight gain
The results of the study indicated that bodyweight gain increased in response to the addition of green tea plus probiotics to the basal diet. Crude protein and crude ash content, and shear values of loin meat were significantly increased in the green tea plus probiotics group, although moisture and juiciness were decreased. The group fed green tea by-products had higher serum glucose concentrations, whereas the green tea plus probiotics group exhibited lower insulin concentrations.

The values of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances of fresh loin meat and meat that had been preserved for one week were lower in the green tea plus probiotics group than those of the control and green tea byproduct groups. The growth of spleen cells incubated in concanavalin A (Con A) and lipopolysaccharide medium was statistically higher for the green tea plus probiotics group than for the green tea by-product group or antibiotic group. IL-6 and TNF-α production by spleen cells induced by Con A and LPS was increased in the green tea by-product group and green tea plus probiotics group compared with the antibiotic group.

The article is published in Animal Production Science.

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