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Arch Anim Nutr. 2014;68(1):29-41. doi: 10.1080/1745039X.2013.876184. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

Effects of feeding different roughage components to sows in gestation on bacteriological and immunological parameters in colostrum and immune response of piglets.

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a Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health, Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences , University of Kassel , Witzenhausen , Germany.


In piglet production, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and the presence of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) were considered as predominant causative agents in the aetiology of important diseases of sows and piglets. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of feeding different roughage sources to sows in gestation on the microbiota and endotoxin concentration in colostrum and on the specific immune response of their piglets. In two trial runs, a total of 144 sows were assigned to one of the six dietary treatments: the Control group receiving a concentrate diet and five groups with a restrictive supply of the control diet in combination with straw (S), hay (H), clover grass silage (GS), maize silage (MS) or Jerusalem artichoke (JA). During lactation no roughage was offered. Colostrum samples were analysed for bacteriological and immunological parameters. Blood samples were taken from two piglets per corresponding litter to examine the concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP) and of specific antibodies to LPS of E. coli (strain J5). Roughage feeding had an effect neither on the total bacterial count nor on the content of E. coli in colostrum of sows. The concentration of LPS in colostrum was reduced in Group MS. The concentration of CRP in the colostrum samples was low and independent of the feeding regime (max. 9.3 µg/ml). However, the administration of roughage components rich in crude fibre (Groups H and S) decreased the level of CRP in colostrum significantly. The analysis of the specific immunoglobulin to LPS of E. coli (strain J5) showed a higher concentration of IgG-anti-LPS in blood serum of piglets from sows of Group JA. The results suggest that the inclusion of selected roughage components may have the potential to affect the immunocompetence of sows and their corresponding piglets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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