Microbiome-centered strategies to promote development of the immune system in suckling pigs

Last changed: 15 September 2020
Laying sow with nursing piglets. Photo.

The aim of the proposed project is to find nutritional strategies to enhance immune competence in young pigs to improve their resilience against enteric infections.

 The gut microbiota plays an important role for a proper development of the immune function. Certain microbes and microbial metabolites can be regarded as key components in this host-microbiota driven interaction. In the proposed project we will investigate how oral supplementation of such key components, i.e. specific probiotic strains, butyrate generating dietary fiber, and orally supplemented butyrate, contribute to development of gut morphology, gut microbiota composition and maturation of immune system.

Experiments will be performed with suckling piglets, orally supplemented with either probiotic lactobacilli, butyrate or a butyrate generating dietary fiber. Pig performance will be monitored and a multi-omics analytical approach will be used to evaluate effects of supplements on gut mucosa, microbiota and on specific immunological markers. The results thus have potential to provide useful tools for driving the microbiota and immune system development in a beneficial direction which could reduce piglet weaning diarrhoea and the need of antibiotics.


This research project runs 2018-2020 and is financed by Formas.