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Journal of animal science

Effects of supplementation of beta-glucans on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and immunity in weanling pigs.


PMID 16699099

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of beta-glucan on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and immunity in weanling pigs. In Exp. 1, 210 weanling pigs (6.38 +/- 0.92 kg of BW) were fed dietary beta-glucan (0, 0.01, 0.02, 0.03, or 0.04%) for 5 wk. In Exp. 2, 168 pigs (6.18 +/- 1.31 kg of BW) were fed no beta-glucan or antibiotics (T1), 0.02% beta-glucan (T2), only antibiotics (T3), or 0.02% beta-glucan with antibiotics (T4) for 8 wk. In Exp. 2, the antibiotics fed were apramycin and carbadox in phase I (0 to 2 wk) and carbadox and chlortetracycline in phase II (3 to 8 wk). During Exp. 2, the performance study was conducted for 5 wk, and the immune response was tested until 8 wk. In Exp. 1, there was a trend for a linear increase (P = 0.068) in ADG as the dietary beta-glucan concentration increased in the diet. The digestibilities of DM, GE, CP, ether extract, Ca, and P increased linearly (P < 0.05) in the beta-glucan-supplemented pigs. In Exp. 2, the overall ADG was greater (P < 0.05) in treatment T4 compared with the control group (T1). Also, except for P, this group showed greater (P < 0.05) nutrient digestibilities than the control group. In Exp. 2, at d 15, 24, and 46 antibody titers were measured by ELISA against Pasteurella multocida type A and D after vaccination with atrophic rhinitis, and they differed significantly (P < 0.05) with no particular trend. Flow cytometry was used to determine porcine lymphocyte subpopulations at 4 and 8 wk of Exp. 2. There was an increase in CD4 cells (P < 0.05) and a trend for an increase in CD8 cells (P < 0.10) at 8 wk in pigs fed the T2 diet compared with the other groups. Overall, increasing the dietary concentrations of beta-glucan did not improve ADG without antibiotic, and in weanling pigs antibiotics seem to be more effective in improving nutrient digestibilities and growth performance than beta-glucan.

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