The plant extract mixture (XT) used in the present experiment, containing carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde, and capsicum oleoresin, has previously been shown to decrease diarrhea mortality and to modify the intestinal environment of pigs after weaning. However, results obtained among experiments have not been consistent. We hypothesized that dietary protein could be a main factor determining the effect of plant extracts on intestinal environment. Thus, in the present study we assessed the effects of XT in piglet diets with different protein sources and amounts. Pigs weaned at 20 +/- 1 d of age (n = 240) were allocated to 1 of 6 treatments, which followed a factorial arrangement, with 2 amounts (as-fed basis) of the XT (0 and 200 mg/kg) and 3 diets with various amounts of CP and protein sources. Diet FM18 contained 10% of low-temperature fish meal (LT-FM) and a CP level of 18%; diet SBM18 contained 5% of LT-FM plus 9% of full fat extruded soy and a CP level of 18%; and SBM20 diet contained 10% of LT-FM plus 6.3% of full fat extruded soy and a CP level of 20%. Growth performance of the animals was recorded for 14 d, but no differences were detected among treatments. Eight pigs per treatment were killed to examine variables describing aspects of gastrointestinal ecology. For diets containing 18% CP, FM18 and SBM18, XT tended to decrease ileal digestibility of OM (P = 0.064 and 0.071, respectively) and decreased starch digestibility (P = 0.032 and 0.014, respectively). It also reduced villi length (P = 0.003 and 0.013, respectively) and tended to decrease intraepithelial lymphocyte number (P = 0.051 and 0.100, respectively) in the proximal jejunum. The XT inclusion also increased ileal lactobacilli:enterobacteria (P = 0.017) ratio and decreased VFA production in the cecum (P = 0.045) for all diets. A decreased CP level appeared to favor the effects of the studied plant extracts in a positive or negative way depending on the variable measured. The microbial differences produced by XT could be the reason for improved digestive health observed by the authors in stronger challenging conditions (e.g., dirtier environments or long fasting periods after weaning).
|Journal||Journal of Animal Science|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2009|