Smart combination of additives alleviates the effects of weaning

According to new research, growth performance of weaned piglets can be significantly improved by smartly combining proven feed additives. A trial conducted in Denmark, showed that a new innovative concept resulted in higher body weight and a significantly lower feed conversion ratio.


n commercial pig husbandry, weaning is a stressful event associated with changes in the social and physical envi- ronment of the piglet and a dietary shift from consuming mainly sow’s milk to completely solid feed. At the time of

weaning – at three to four weeks of age – the gastrointestinal tract is also still under development. For instance, young pig- lets do not produce enough bile acids and phospholipids for efficient fat emulsification. Furthermore, several studies have shown that levels of pancreatic enzymes, such as lipase, are low in weaned piglets, limiting nutrient digestion. All these factors together have a major impact on the piglets’ health,

Figure 1 - Effect of alpha-monolaurin and OTC (oxytetracyclin, control) on nitrogen oxide (NO) production by lipopolysaccharide-challenged macrophage-like cells, indicating an anti- inflammatory effect.


Alpha-monolaurin OTC


mainly by disturbing the microflora and limiting gut development, increasing the risk of post weaning diarrhoea. A so-called ‘post-weaning dip’ is difficult to prevent.

Powerful combination To prevent a weaning dip, young piglets should be supported by feeding them a specific weaner diet which is designed to safely guide them through this stressful period. In addition to carefully selected feed ingredients, a smart combination of feed additives could help these piglets to enhance gut health, optimize nutrient digestion and improve their immune function. That is why, after a long-term study on the efficacy of single products, a feed additive concept based on a power- ful combination of lysolecithins and glycerides of butyric and lauric acid was developed.

20 10 0 1 10

100 ppm

22 1000 10000

How does it work? Lysolecithins – the first component – enhance emulsification of dietary fats and support a better enzymatic potential. Moreover, lysolecithins form smaller mixed micelles, maximiz- ing nutrient efficiency and absorption. Lysolecithins are known to be more effective compared to the widely used na- tive lecithin, as the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) of the phospholipids in this native lecithin is rather low (HLB < 7). This means that the emulsifying properties of native lecithin in the aqueous environment of the gastrointestinal tract are relatively low. To stimulate the emulsion of dietary fat in the gut, an emulsifier with a moderate HLB-value (HLB > 7) is needed. Lysolecithins contain a large amount of lysophos- pholipids, which increases their HLB value up to the optimal level needed for fat emulsification in the gut. Butyric acid glycerides – the second component – are known to improve intestinal integrity and positively affect microbio- ta composition. The two most important forms of glycerides of butyric acid are ‘tributyrin’ and ‘alpha-monobutyrin’. Tribu- tyrin is basically an odourless fat, which under the action of li- pase, will release butyric acid in the small intestine. Tributyrin has proven to stimulate villi growth, gene expression of tight junctions, microbiota diversity and to reduce oxidative stress

▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 29, No. 5/6, 2021

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