New research from Zhejiang University in China suggests that including fermented bamboo fibre in sow diets can improve gut health, immune function, and performance in sows and piglets. The study found that supplementing with 4% fermented bamboo fibre had the most positive effect among all treatments.
Sows undergo significant metabolic and immunological changes during late gestation and lactation, which can result in lower feed intake, altered gut microbiota, and decreased reproductive performance. It is important to reduce inflammation and metabolic disturbances during this period to ensure normal metabolic and immune changes, and proper performance of the sows and piglets. Gut microbiota can ferment dietary fibre. The fibre can modulate immune function, and improve gut health in both sows and piglets.
A recent study published in the Microbiology Spectrum Journal by researchers from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, examined the effects of different levels of fermented bamboo fibre supplementation in sow diets during late gestation and lactation on gut microbiota, inflammation, intestinal permeability, and immunity in sows and piglets.
The study used Moso bamboo to produce powder, which was fermented anaerobically with glucose and sterile water. 60 multiparous sows were randomly allocated to 4 dietary groups: control, and 1.25%, 2.5%, and 4% fermented bamboo fibre.
After farrowing, the team recorded various performance indicators. These included sow backfat thickness, constipation rate, reproductive performance, daily feed intake, and growth performance. They also recorded the weight of live piglets per litter and diarrhea incidence, in addition to analysing samples of serum, feces, milk, and intestines.
The study found that pigs fed 2.5% and 4% fermented bamboo fibre had an increase in average daily feed intake. They had a decreased backfat loss and constipation rate. Supplementing sow diets with 4% fermented bamboo fibre also increased fecal water content, improved the protein of colostrum, and reproductive performance. Feeding piglets 4% the fermented bamboo enhanced weaning weight and litter weight gain and decreased the incidence of diarrhea.
Supplementing with 4% fermented bamboo fibre also lowered the content of diamine oxidase, a biomarker related to gut permeability, and reduced serum markers of systemic inflammation such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor in sows and piglets. Sows fed 4% fermented bamboo fibre during lactation had higher serum concentrations of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10. Feeding 2.5% and 4% fermented bamboo fibre reduced serum endotoxin levels but improved serum IgG and IgM levels and immunity in sows and piglets. The 4% fermented bamboo fibre diet also regulated short-chain fatty acids such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, to mediate host energy balance, immune function, and mucosal barrier function in the gut of sows and piglets.
In sows fed the 4% diet, the relative abundances of various beneficial gut bacteria increased, while the relative abundances of harmful bacteria decreased. In piglets fed the 4% diet, the relative abundance of beneficial bacteria increased, while the relative abundance of harmful bacteria decreased. Supplementing with 4% also enhanced the height of the jejunal villi and the villus height to crypt depth ratio of the duodenum and ileum, improving the gut morphology of piglets.
This study showed that including fermented bamboo fibre in sow diets during late gestation and lactation can improve gut health, immune status, and performance in sows and piglets. Supplementing with 4% of this fibre had the most positive effect among all treatments.