The direct use of medical zinc oxide in feed will be abandoned after 2022 in Europe, leaving an urgent need for substitutes to prevent post-weaning disorders.
This study investigated the effect of using rapeseed-seaweed blend (rapeseed meal added two brown macroalgae species Ascophylum nodosum and Saccharina latissima) fermented by lactobacilli (FRS) as feed ingredients in piglet weaning. From d 28 of life to d 85, the piglets were fed one of three different feeding regimens (n = 230 each) with inclusion of 0%, 2.5% and 5% FRS. In this period, no significant difference of piglet performance was found among the three groups. From a subset of piglets (n = 10 from each treatment), blood samples for hematology, biochemistry and immunoglobulin analysis, colon digesta for microbiome analysis, and jejunum and colon tissues for histopathological analyses were collected. The piglets fed with 2.5% FRS manifested alleviated intraepithelial and stromal lymphocytes infiltration in the gut, enhanced colon mucosa barrier relative to the 0% FRS group. The colon microbiota composition was determined using V3 and V1-V8 region 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing by Illumina NextSeq and Oxford Nanopore MinION, respectively. The two amplicon sequencing strategies showed high consistency between the detected bacteria. Both sequencing strategies indicated that inclusion of FRS reshaped the colon microbiome of weaned piglets with increased Shannon diversity. Prevotella stercorea was verified by both methods to be more abundant in the piglets supplied with FRS feed, and its abundance was positively correlated with colonic mucosa thickness but negatively correlated with blood concentrations of leucocytes and IgG.
FRS supplementation relieved the gut lymphocyte infiltration of the weaned piglets, improved the colon mucosa barrier with altered microbiota composition. Increasing the dietary inclusion of FRS from 2.5% to 5% did not lead to further improvements.

© 2021. The Author(s).