Evaluation of Dietary Administration of Chestnut and Quebracho Tannins on Growth, Serum Metabolites and Fecal Parameters of Weaned Piglets

Valentina Caprarulo, Monika Hejna, Carlotta Giromini, Yanhong Liu, Matteo Dell’Anno, Stefania Sotira, Serena Reggi, Carlo Angelo Sgoifo-Rossi, Maria Luisa Callegari, Luciana Rossi

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In pig livestock, alternatives to in-feed antibiotics are needed to control enteric infections. Plant extracts such as tannins can represent an alternative as a natural source of functional compounds. The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro digestibility and in vivo eects of oral supplementation of combined chestnut (Ch) and quebracho (Qu) tannins in order to establish if they can induce a positive eect on weaned piglets’ performance, metabolic status and fecal parameters. In vitro digestibility (dry matter, DM) of diets was calculated using a multi-step enzymatic technique. In vitro digested diet samples were further tested on an intestinal porcine enterocyte cell line (IPEC-J2). Weaned piglets (n = 120; 28 2 day old) were randomly allotted to two groups (12 pens in total with 10 pigs per pen): control (Ctrl) and treatment (Ch/Qu). After one week of adaptation (day 0), 35-day-old piglets in the Ctrl group were fed a Ctrl diet and the Ch/Qu group were fed with 1.25% Ch/Qu for 40 days. Body weight and feed intake per pen were recorded weekly. At day 40, blood and fecal samples were collected. Principal metabolic parameters were evaluated from blood samples by enzymatic colorimetric analysis. Total phenolic compounds, urea, and ammonia in feces were analyzed (Megazyme International, Bray, Ireland). In vitro digestibility and cell viability assays showed that the inclusion of 1.25% Ch/Qu slightly reduced diet digestibility compared with the Ctrl diet, while intestinal cell viability was not altered with low concentrations of Ch/Qu digesta compared with Ctrl. In vivo results did not show any adverse eects of Ch/Qu on feed intake and growth performance, confirming that dietary inclusion of Ch/Qu at a concentration of 1.25% did not impair animal performance. The decreased diet DM digestibility in the Ch/Qu diet may cause increased serum concentration of albumin (Ctrl: 19.30 0.88; Ch/Qu: 23.05 0.88) and albumin/globulin ratio (Ctrl: 0.58 0.04; Ch/Qu: 0.82 0.04), but decreased creatinine (Ctrl: 78.92 4.18; Ch/Qu: 54.82 4.18) and urea (Ctrl: 2.18 0.19; Ch/Qu: 0.95 0.19) compared with Ctrl. Pigs in the Ch/Qu group contained higher (p < 0.05) concentrations of fecal phenolic compounds and nitrogen than the Ctrl group, while fecal ammonia and urea were not aected by tannins. In conclusion, Ch/Qu tannin supplementation did not influence growth performance. Although lower digestibility was observed in the diet supplemented with Ch/Qu tannins, Ch/Qu supplementation did not show any adverse eect on intestinal epithelial cell viability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1945-1959
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • plant extracts
  • tannins
  • weaned piglets
  • zootechnical performances


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