Effects and Mechanisms of Probiotics/Synbiotics on Regulating Intestinal Health and Meat Quality of Offspring Bama Pigs Through "Mother-Offspring Integration"
After being prohibited in-feed antibiotics, novel alternatives to antibiotics become active substances to overcome animal health production. Recent studies on probiotics and synbiotics mainly focus on short-term dietary supplementation to sows or piglets, and the long-term effects of probiotics and synbiotics have remained unclear. Bama mini-pigs are a famous domestic and valuable miniature pig breed and are well-known as an ideal animal model for studying human nutrition and metabolic diseases. They possess the characteristics of stable genetic performance, roughage feeding resistance, good adaptability, strong disease resistance, and delicious meat. Therefore, they have a great market prospect. Moreover, the production of Bama mini-pigs plays an important industrial role in alleviating poverty and rural revitalization in Bama County, Guangxi Province, China. However, their low growth and development, traditional free-range farming, and low extensive breeding efficiency have severely hindered the healthy development of the pig industry. Therefore, it is urgent to conduct research on the nutritional metabolism regulation of Bama mini-pigs and establish a nutritional regulation strategy for mother-offspring integration.
Recently, a research team led by professor Xiangfeng Kong from the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, systematically studied the effects of dietary probiotics and synbiotics supplementation during gestation and lactation on Bama mini-pigs and explored the mechanism from the aspects of nutrient metabolism, intestinal microecology, and gene expression. The team demonstrated that dietary probiotics and synbiotics supplementation during gestation and lactation can improve the balance of intestinal microbiota and metabolic activity and enhance the body health and reproductive performance of sows. Maternal dietary probiotics and synbiotics can also alter microbiota composition and promote the utilization of glycolipid and protein, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, increase the abundances of beneficial bacteria, enhance immune function in suckling piglets, and thus promote the growth and development of piglets. In addition, maternal dietary probiotics and synbiotics supplementation could regulate intestinal microbiota structure, improve intestinal barrier function, antioxidant function, and mitochondrial function, and enhance intestinal mucosal immunity of weaning piglets. Moreover, maternal dietary probiotics and synbiotics supplementation improved the meat color, water retention, tenderness, and IMF content, altered the content of amino acids and medium- and long-chain fatty acids in muscle, enhanced protein synthesis, improved lipid and glucose metabolism, improved the type composition of muscle fiber and muscle fat deposition, altered the metabolic function of intestinal microbiota in growing-finishing pig, and then improved the growth performance and meat quality of offspring piglets. The long-term effects of dietary probiotics supplementation during gestation and lactation showed the increased daily feed intake of the offspring during the growing-finishing period, decreased diarrhea rate, increased abundance of beneficial bacteria in the colon, and inhibited the proliferation of harmful bacteria. However, dietary antibiotic supplementation during gestation and lactation showed negative effects on growth performance, intestinal health, body fat metabolism, and meat quality of offspring, and increased the abundance of harmful bacteria such as Treponema and Streptococcus.
The above studies were focused on the effects of intervention in the intestinal microecology of sows on the growth and development and nutritional metabolism of offspring, providing the theoretical basis and technical support for improving the meat quality of offspring by adopting the nutrition regulation strategy of "mother-offspring integration" as the core. In this study, the feeding effects of dietary probiotics/synbiotics on Bama min-pigs were systematically studied, Bama mini-pigs were used as the animal model, and the mechanism was discussed from various aspects, which has important guiding significance for the application of dietary probiotics and synbiotics in domestic healthy pig breeding.
The above study results were successively published in Front Microbiol, Front Nutr, Oxid Med Cell Longev, Mediators Inflam, Front Vet Sci, J Funct Foods, J Appl Microbiol and Acta Veterinaria et Zootechnica Sinica, and other journals.
Contact: Xiangfeng Kong
Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Figure1 Flow chart of probiotics/synbiotics for "mother-offspring integration" nutritional intervention in Bama mini-pigs.(Image by Qian Zhu)
Figure2 Effect and mechanism of probiotics/synbiotics on "mother-offspring integration" nutritional intervention of Bama mini-pigs.(Image by Qian Zhu)