Water acidification to improve piglet health and performance – 5 takeaways

Even piglets with excessive ranges of vitality at farrowing typically wrestle with gastrointestinal challenges in the course of the post-weaning part. Piglets’ restricted digestive capability is careworn by the disruption from maternal sow’s milk to a industrial piglet formulation and an enable undigested proteins to entry the hind intestine – the place circumstances are ripe for pathogens to proliferate. As nutrient utilization instantly after weaning is low, piglets’ efficiency declines.

© Trouw Nutrition

How can piglets’ diets be tailored to deal with the physiological processes occurring post-weaning and assist piglets navigate the post-weaning part with out efficiency issues? Findings from a meta-analysis performed by Trouw Nutrition, the animal vitamin division of Nutreco, reveals that supplementing piglets’ water with natural acids can optimize abdomen pH ranges and assist piglets optimize efficiency. Below are 5 takeaways associated to intestine well being and findings from the meta-analysis that present the hyperlink between water acidification, intestine well being and piglet efficiency.

Takeaway #1: Achieving a low pH is crucial to digestion post-weaning

Enzymes, equivalent to pepsin, within the abdomen digest protein, however these enzymes require a low pH degree to activate. In suckling piglets, excessive ranges of lactate in sow’s milk inhibit hydrochloric acid (HCI) secretion, however the presence of lactate within the sow’s milk retains pH ranges within the abdomen low to facilitate environment friendly nutrient digestion. Several components at weaning, such because the introduction of recent feed, can increase the abdomen pH – typically at ranges larger than pH 5.0. This is regarding when one considers that the optimum abdomen pH for changing pepsinogen into pepsin is round 2.0-3.5.

Figure 1. Effect of pH on the activity of pepsin (adapted from Jensen et al.)
Figure 1. Effect of pH on the exercise of pepsin (tailored from Jensen et al.)

© Trouw Nutrition

HCl manufacturing in the course of the first 3-4 weeks of life piglets is inadequate (Figure 2), with pepsin exercise growing round 5-6 weeks (1-3 weeks post-weaning, relying on weaning age). These circumstances imply that piglets want further help within the essential weeks post-weaning in order that they obtain ample abdomen acidification required to help protein digestion.

Understanding the vital hyperlink between abdomen pH and digestion, Trouw Nutrition researchers evaluated the function a water acidifier can play in supporting optimum pH ranges in piglets’ stomachs. The meta-analysis beneath demonstrates the function of a water acidifier in lowering abdomen pH and enhancing piglet development efficiency.

Figure 2. Production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) according to the age of the piglets
Figure 2. Production of hydrochloric acid (HCl) based on the age of the piglets

© Trouw Nutrition

Takeaway #2: Studies across the globe reveal present water acidification improves piglet development

Trouw Nutrition performed 9 scientific research in six international locations – Canada, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, China, Vietnam, and Brazil. Representing vastly completely different manufacturing geographies , these research have been mixed in a meta-analysis to guage the impact of supplementing piglets’ water with an acidifier (Selko-pH) to help nursery piglets’ development efficiency. A complete of two,068 weaned piglets (7.3 kg preliminary physique weight, 25 days of age) have been allotted to certainly one of two therapies: 1) management (no water acidifier) and a pair of) Selko-pH (a mix of free and buffered natural acids). Selko-pH was added at a dose to succeed in a water pH of three.8 and equipped to piglets over all the nursery interval (5-6 weeks).

Individual research’ uncooked knowledge have been mixed and the impact of therapy on general efficiency was analyzed utilizing combined fashions in SAS. Water consumption knowledge from 4 research was additionally analyzed.

Researchers analyzing the meta-analysis knowledge noticed that nursery piglets receiving water supplemented with a water acidifier skilled a major impact on development efficiency. Compared to piglets within the management therapy, the ultimate physique weight (+5.8%, p<0.0001) and common each day achieve (+8.3%, p<0.0001) elevated, whereas the FCR decreased (-1.3%, p=0.001) when Selko-pH was supplemented. These enhancements have been pushed primarily by larger water consumption (+0.59 L/d, 2.70 vs 2.11 L/d) and feed consumption of piglets within the Selko-pH group (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Growth performance improvement in weaned piglets supplemented with Selko-pH relative to the control group.
Figure 3. Growth efficiency enchancment in weaned piglets supplemented with Selko-pH relative to the management group.

© Trouw Nutrition

Takeaway #3: Piglets receiving a water acidifier tended to have a decrease abdomen pH

A separate meta-analysis was performed involving three research carried out on the Trouw Nutrition Swine Research Center in The Netherlands. Researchers evaluated the impact of water acidification on abdomen pH amongst a complete of 332 weaned piglets (7.5 kg preliminary physique weight, 24 days of age) divided into two teams. Piglets within the therapy group acquired Selko-pH for a interval of 6 weeks. Stomach pH was measured on the finish of the interval.

Figure 4 . Effect of water acidification on stomach pH of piglets at day 42
Figure 4 . Effect of water acidification on abdomen pH of piglets at day 42

© Trouw Nutrition

Compared to the management group, piglets that acquired water supplemented with Selko-pH tended to have a decrease abdomen pH (p=0.07, Figure 4). Achieving a decrease abdomen pH of two.0-3.5 is extraordinarily vital for protein digestion in younger piglets. At 42 days post-weaning, the quantity of HCl manufacturing nears its most (Figure 2). A extra distinct impact of Selko-pH is predicted within the first 2-3 weeks post-weaning when HCl manufacturing is decrease.

Takeaway #4: Studies present improved trypsin ranges in piglets receiving a water acidifier

Pancreatic proteases, equivalent to trypsin within the small gut, additional digest protein. Similar to pepsin, trypsin focus ranges are low within the first days after weaning. A 2018 research carried out by Hunan Agricultural University (China) in collaboration with Trouw Nutrition discovered that water acidification with the Selko-pH resulted in considerably improved trypsin exercise within the jejunum of weaned piglets in comparison with a management group (+1.5%, 1485.7 vs 1508 UI, p < 0.05).

Takeaway #5: Water acidification can set piglets up for higher efficiency

Decreased feed consumption on account of weaning stress can compromise development efficiency and in the end threaten lifetime efficiency. Protein digestion is perfect when the pH of the abdomen is between 2.0-3.5. Various physiological components could make it difficult to realize these pH ranges in newly weaned pigs’ stomachs. The meta-analysis described above display clearly that supplementing water with Selko-pH lowered abdomen pH in weaned piglets and, consequently, improved piglets’ development efficiency.

In abstract, supplementing piglets’ water with Selko-pH resulted in improved water and feed consumption, larger physique weight and lowered feed conversion ratio.

References obtainable upon request.


Global Program Manager, Swine Health
at Trouw Nutrition


Researcher, Product Validation R&D
at Trouw Nutrition

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