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J Anim Sci Biotechnol. 2018 Jul 30;9:54. doi: 10.1186/s40104-018-0269-6. eCollection 2018.

The dynamics of the piglet gut microbiome during the weaning transition in association with health and nutrition.

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1Department of Animal Resources Science, Dankook University, Cheonan, South Korea.
2Division of Food and Animal Sciences, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, South Korea.
3Abbvie Bioresearch Center, Abbvie, Worcester, MA USA.
4National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration, Wanju, South Korea.
5Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, Pathum Wan, Bangkok, 10330 Thailand.
6Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108 USA.
7Division of Animal and Dairy Science, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea.
Contributed equally



Understanding the composition of the microbial community and its functional capacity during weaning is important for pig production as bacteria play important roles in the pig's health and growth performance. However, limited information is available regarding the composition and function of the gut microbiome of piglets in early-life. Therefore, we performed 16S rRNA gene and whole metagenome shotgun sequencing of DNA from fecal samples from healthy piglets during weaning to measure microbiome shifts, and to identify the potential contribution of the early-life microbiota in shaping piglet health with a focus on microbial stress responses, carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism.


The analysis of 16S rRNA genes and whole metagenome shotgun sequencing revealed significant compositional and functional differences between the fecal microbiome in nursing and weaned piglets. The fecal microbiome of the nursing piglets showed higher relative abundance of bacteria in the genus Bacteroides with abundant gene families related to the utilization of lactose and galactose. Prevotella and Lactobacillus were enriched in weaned piglets with an enrichment for the gene families associated with carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. In addition, an analysis of the functional capacity of the fecal microbiome showed higher abundances of genes associated with heat shock and oxidative stress in the metagenome of weaned piglets compared to nursing piglets.


Overall, our data show that microbial shifts and changes in functional capacities of the piglet fecal microbiome resulted in potential reductions in the effects of stress, including dietary changes that occur during weaning. These results provide us with new insights into the piglet gut microbiome that contributes to the growth of the animal.


16S rRNA; Metagenomics; Microbiome; Piglets; Weaning

Conflict of interest statement

Not applicable.The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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