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Thursday, July 5, 2012 1:26:52 PM
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Gut development is essential for weaning piglets

Clément Soulet

Intestinal development is crucial for the future health and performance of all young animals. It is especially relevant for piglets during the weaning period. Low feed intake immediately after weaning is responsible for villous atrophy, lower nutrient absorption and reduced available energy. Among the major nutrients absorbed by the gut, glucose is extremely important (source of energy used by the body for growth). For instance, glucose enables the gut mucosa to develop and therefore to increase nutrient uptake, which in return increases the overall growth of the animal.




For a long time, the gut has been described as a simple organ but the gut is in fact a sensory organ (Furness et al.; 1999). The gut is able to perceive its internal environment and adapt to it autonomously without any interaction with the central nervous system. The gut has its own brain and autonomy. In this context, Pancosma in relation with major universities has opened up new frontiers in animal nutrition with innovative discoveries in gut-to-gut communication. Among them, Pancosma researchers demonstrated that their high intensity sweetener SUCRAM® had an impact on swine guts, with proven functional effects known as "gut effects"; and increases glucose, water and sodium absorption and acts on the epithelial structure by stimulating intestinal development.



1.     Systemic response: SUCRAM® enhances the capacity of swine small intestines to absorb glucose


In weaning piglets, Moran et al. (2010; British Journal of Nutrition) reported that the sensing of luminal intense sweeteners by T1R2 and T1R3 enteroendocrine cell receptors leads to the up-regulation of intestinal glucose transporter (SGLT1) mRNA expression as well as the increased translation of protein and glucose absorption capacity in piglets. SUCRAM® induces a twofold increase of the gene associated with glucose transporters in the intestine. Glucose transporters and glucose uptake are increased twofold.


2.     Physiological response: SUCRAM® acts on the epithelial structure by stimulating intestinal development


Higher glucose absorption leads to an improved nutrition of the villi and the gut mucosa. SUCRAM® increases villi height and crypt depth. That means SUCRAM® increases the intestinal absorption surface and cell renewal.


Water and sodium are absorbed along with glucose. Thanks to the higher level of water absorption, using SUCRAM® tends to reduce diarrhoea and prevent enteric disorders. In a trial conducted on weaning piglets, Sterk et al. (2008; Journal of Animal Science) reported that the addition of SUCRAM® to the diet prevented post-weaning enteric disorders, and they observed an improvement in faecal consistency.


3.     Zootechnical response: the inclusion of SUCRAM® in piglet feed is effective in enhancing the growth and performance of early-weaned piglets (Sterk et al., 2008)


For more than 20 years, trials and on-farm results have proven SUCRAM®'s performance. Pancosma has carried out several trials demonstrating the positive effect of SUCRAM® on feed intake, body weight gain and feed efficiency for piglets. In a trial performed on 384 weaned piglets, the results summarised below show that SUCRAM® increases feed intake (+6%), body weight gain (+4.7%) and improves feed conversion ratio (-2.6%).


Using SUCRAM® provides a good opportunity to increase profitability through optimal feed intake and zootechnical performance. By gaining a complete understanding of the mode of action of SUCRAM® in the mouth as well as in the gut, Pancosma is able to scientifically explain all the mechanisms that ensure excellent animal results and benefits for the farmer.



For more of the article, please click here


Article made possible through the contribution of Clément Soulet and Pancosma SA

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