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J Anim Sci. 2012 Nov;90(11):4020-7. doi: 10.2527/jas.2012-5193.

Effects of feeding fiber-fermenting bacteria to pigs on nutrient digestion, fecal output, and plasma energy metabolites.

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USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, IA 50011-3310, USA.


Inclusion of feedstuffs with higher plant cell wall (fiber) content in swine diets has increased in recent years due to greater availability and lower cost, especially coproduct feeds, such as corn distillers dried grains with soluble (DDGS). Limitations of feeding higher fiber diets include increased fecal output, which can exceed manure storage volumes, and decreased energy density, which can decrease growth performance; dietary treatments that ameliorate these limitations would benefit pork producers. Grower pigs (n = 48; 61.1 kg initial BW) were used to establish the effects of supplementation of fiber-fermenting bacteria in a 2 × 4 factorial, consisting of 2 diets (standard and high fiber) and 4 bacterial treatments (A, no bacteria; and B, C, and D bacterial supplements). Increased fiber came from inclusion of soybean hulls (10%) and corn DDGS (20%) in the diet. The 3 bacterial supplements (all Bacteroides strains) were isolated from fecal enrichment cultures and selected for their fiber-fermenting capacity. The high fiber diet increased fecal output, blood cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations, and digestibility of NDF, ADF, and S; CP digestibility decreased (P ≤ 0.10). The improved fiber digestibility and altered energy status of pigs fed the high fiber diet was primarily due to fermentation of soybean hulls, resulting in increased short-chain fatty acid production and absorption, and decreased dietary starch content. Overall, pigs fed the bacterial treatments had only increased blood cholesterol concentrations (P = 0.10). When individual bacterial treatments were compared, pigs fed Bacteria B had decreased fecal output (P ≤ 0.10) and both blood glucose and cholesterol concentrations were increased (P ≤ 0.10) compared with the other 3 treatments, indicating an improved energy status. Pigs fed Bacteria B increased both CP and ADF (P ≤ 0.10), and tended (P = 0.16) to have increased NDF digestibilities compared with pigs fed no bacteria (Treatment A), whereas pigs fed the other 2 bacterial treatments did not differ from pigs fed Bacteria B for nutrient digestibility. Both had similar fecal outputs to pigs fed no bacteria. This is the first report of reduction in fecal output and increased fiber digestibility with pigs fed live bacteria. Successful application of this bacterial treatment could result in improved pig performance and decreased manure volumes, both of which would improve profitability of producers.

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