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Arch Anim Nutr. 2005 Apr;59(2):123-38.

Incorporation of galactomannans in the diet of newly weaned piglets: effect on bacteriological and some morphological characteristics of the small intestine.

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Department of Animal Production, Ghent University, Melle, Belgium.


In search of substances replacing antibiotics as growth promoters for farm animals, non-digestible oligosaccharides (NDO) or non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) have been proposed as possible alternatives. In this context, the influence of galactomannans on bacteriological and morphological aspects of the gastrointestinal tract in weanling pigs was investigated. Four groups of five newly weaned piglets received one of the following diets: control feed (C), C supplemented with guar gum (1%), C supplemented with locust bean gum (1%) and C supplemented with 10% of carob tree seeds meal as source of locust bean gum. The animals were euthanized after 11-12 days and digesta were sampled in stomach, jejunum (proximal and distal) and caecum, while mucosal scrapings and ring shaped tissue samples were taken of proximal and distal jejunum. On these samples bacteriological, biochemical and morphological determinations were carried out. Total count of bacteria in digesta and mucosal scrapings was not influenced by the different diets, with the exception of the proximal jejunum where a small decrease (0.5 log10 CFU) was noted with the guar gum and carob tree seeds diet. The number of E. coli increased by feeding both gums and carob tree seeds. With the latter diet, higher counts of streptococci were observed. In agreement with the lower concentration of lactic acid in jejunal contents, guar gum decreased the number of lactobacilli. Locust bean gum decreased the molar proportion of acetate in caecal contents while butyrate and valerate were augmented. Feeding the carob tree seeds resulted in shorter villi and a lower villus height/crypt depth ratio in the jejunum mucosa, which was an indication for a faster renewal rate of the epithelium. Both locust bean gum feeds significantly lowered the mitotic index in the crypts of the small intestine. Only with the carob tree seeds diet, viscosity of jejunal contents was increased. In conclusion, the effects of the addition of 1% of pure guar gum or locust bean gum were inconsistent and not very outspoken, whereas 10% of carob tree seeds meal in the diet resulted in influences on intestinal characteristics at the bacteriological and morphological level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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