Applied and environmental microbiology

Lactulose and Lactobacillus plantarum, a potential complementary synbiotic to control postweaning colibacillosis in piglets.

PMID 24907322


The potential of a prebiotic oligosaccharide lactulose, a probiotic strain of Lactobacillus plantarum, or their synbiotic combination to control postweaning colibacillosis in pigs was evaluated using an enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) K88 oral challenge. Seventy-two weanlings were fed four diets: a control diet (CTR), that diet supplemented with L. plantarum (2 × 10(10) CFU · day(-1)) (LPN), that diet supplemented with 10 g · kg(-1) lactulose (LAC), or a combination of the two treatments (SYN). After 7 days, the pigs were orally challenged. Six pigs per treatment were euthanized on days 6 and 10 postchallenge (PC). Inclusion of lactulose improved the average daily gain (ADG) (P < 0.05) and increased lactobacilli (P < 0.05) and the percentage of butyric acid (P < 0.02) in the colon. An increase in the ileum villous height (P < 0.05) and a reduction of the pig major acute-phase protein (Pig-MAP) in serum (P < 0.01) were observed also. The inclusion of the probiotic increased numbers of L. plantarum bacteria in the ileum and colon (P < 0.05) and in the total lactobacilli in the colon and showed a trend to reduce diarrhea (P = 0.09). The concentrations of ammonia in ileal and colonic digesta were decreased (P < 0.05), and the villous height (P < 0.01) and number of ileal goblet cells (P < 0.05) increased, at day 10 PC. A decrease in plasmatic tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) (P < 0.01) was also seen. The positive effects of the two additives were combined in the SYN treatment, resulting in a complementary synbiotic with potential to be used to control postweaning colibacillosis.