Alternatives to antibiotic treatments are required owing to the ban on the use of these drugs as growth promoters in food animal production. Tributyrin appears to play a role in improving growth performance in pigs, albeit with varying degrees of effectiveness. So far, very little is known about its effects on gut microbiota composition. In this study, we investigated the gut microbiota changes of piglets receiving, at weaning, 0.2% tributyrin added to their basal diet. Microbiota composition was assessed through 16S-rRNA gene sequencing on stools collected from tributyrin and control groups. The functional profiles of microbial communities were predicted from amplicon abundance data. A comparison between dietary groups revealed that tributyrin strongly modulated gut microbiota composition in piglets, increasing the relative abundance of a number of bacterial genera such as Oscillospira, Oscillibacter, Mucispirillum and Butyrivibrio. These genera were positively correlated to animal average daily gain (ADG) and/or body weight (BW). Based on the function profile prediction, the gut microbiome of the tributyrin group possessed an enhanced potential for energy metabolism and a reduced potential for carbohydrate metabolism. In conclusion, our results indicated that tributyrin can promote changes to gut microbial communities, which could contribute to improving animal performance after weaning.
- Animal performance
- Gut microbiota