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.
- plant extracts
- weaned piglets
- zootechnical performances