We evaluated the effects of 3 additives, sodium butyrate (AC), avilamycin (AB), and a combination of plant extracts (XT), on the productive performance and the intestinal environment of the early-weaned pig. The XT was a standardized mixture with 5% (wt/wt) carvacrol (from Origanum spp.), 3% cinnamaldehyde (from Cinnamonum spp.), and 2% capsicum oleoresin (from Capsicum annum). Pigs (n = 32) weaned at 18 to 22 d of age with an initial BW of 6.0 ± 0.10 kg were allocated to 8 pens that, in turn, were allocated to 4 treatments. The treatments included a basal diet (CT) or the basal diet supplemented with 0.3% of AC, 0.04% of AB, or 0.03% of XT. Productive performance was determined during the initial 14 d postweaning. On d 19 and 21 of the experiment, the pigs were killed to allow collection of digesta and intestinal tissue to evaluate variables indicative of aspects of the gastrointestinal environment. Treatments AB and AC improved G:F (P = 0.012 and 0.003, respectively) compared with the CT. Butyrate included in the diet was only detected in the stomach but not in cranial jejunum. When compared with CT, AC produced a lower ileal starch digestibility (P = 0.002) and a lower whole-tract OM and starch digestibility (P = 0.001 and 0.003, respectively), related to a lower VFA concentration in the cranial colon (P = 0.082) and a numerically reduced branched VFA percentage in the rectum. The AB treatment diminished propionate production in caudal colon (P = 0.002) and rectum (P = 0.012) compared with CT. The AC group exhibited deeper crypt depth in the jejunum without variations in villus height compared with CT (P = 0.042). The AC and AB groups also increased goblet cell presence in the colon (P = 0.001 and 0.032, respectively). On the other hand, AB and XT diminished intraepithelial lymphocytes in the jejunum (P = 0.003 and 0.034, respectively). The XT increased lymphocyte presence in the colon (P = 0.003). These results show the important influence of AB and AC on productive performance and on pig gut dynamics. The intestinal modifications observed for AB and AC compared with CT suggest distinct modes of action for each additive. ©2006 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.
- Plant extract