• The Effect of Feeding Bt MON810 Maize to Pigs for 110 Days on Intestinal Microbiota

      Buzoianu, Stefan G.; Walsh, Maria C.; Rea, Mary C.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Crispie, Fiona; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Lawlor, Peadar G; European Union; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 211820 (PLOS, 04/05/2012)
      Objective To assess the effects of feeding Bt MON810 maize to pigs for 110 days on the intestinal microbiota. Methodology/Principal Findings Forty male pigs (~40 days old) were blocked by weight and litter ancestry and assigned to one of four treatments; 1) Isogenic maize-based diet for 110 days (Isogenic); 2) Bt maize-based diet (MON810) for 110 days (Bt); 3) Isogenic maize-based diet for 30 days followed by a Bt maize-based diet for 80 days (Isogenic/Bt); 4) Bt maize-based diet for 30 days followed by an isogenic maize-based diet for 80 days (Bt/Isogenic). Enterobacteriaceae, Lactobacillus and total anaerobes were enumerated in the feces using culture-based methods on days 0, 30, 60 and 100 of the study and in ileal and cecal digesta on day 110. No differences were found between treatments for any of these counts at any time point. The relative abundance of cecal bacteria was also determined using high-throughput 16 S rRNA gene sequencing. No differences were observed in any bacterial taxa between treatments, with the exception of the genus Holdemania which was more abundant in the cecum of pigs fed the isogenic/Bt treatment compared to pigs fed the Bt treatment (0.012 vs 0.003%; P≤0.05). Conclusions/Significance Feeding pigs a Bt maize-based diet for 110 days did not affect counts of any of the culturable bacteria enumerated in the feces, ileum or cecum. Neither did it influence the composition of the cecal microbiota, with the exception of a minor increase in the genus Holdemania. As the role of Holdemania in the intestine is still under investigation and no health abnormalities were observed, this change is not likely to be of clinical significance. These results indicate that feeding Bt maize to pigs in the context of its influence on the porcine intestinal microbiota is safe.
    • Offspring subcutaneous adipose markers are sensitive to the timing of maternal gestational weight gain

      Giblin, Linda; Darimont, Christian; Leone, Patricia; McNamara, Louise B.; Blancher, Florence; Berry, Donagh P.; Castaneda-Gutierrez, Euridice; Lawlor, Peadar G; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 08/03/2015)
      Background Excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy impacts on offspring health. This study focused on the timing of maternal gestational weight gain, using a porcine model with mothers of normal pre-pregnancy weight. Methods Trial design ensured the trajectory of maternal gestational weight gain differed across treatments in early, mid and late gestation. Diet composition did not differ. On day 25 gestation, sows were assigned to one of five treatments: Control sows received a standard gestation diet of 2.3 kg/day (30 MJ DE/day) from early to late gestation (day 25–110 gestation). E sows received 4.6 kg food/day in early gestation (day 25–50 gestation). M sows doubled their food intake in mid gestation (day 50–80 gestation). EM sows doubled their food intake during both early and mid gestation (day 25–80 gestation). L sows consumed 3.5 kg food/day in late gestation (day 80–110 gestation). Offspring body weight and food intake levels were measured from birth to adolescence. Markers of lipid metabolism, hypertrophy and inflammation were investigated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of adolescent offspring. Results The trajectory of gestational weight gain differed across treatments. However total gestational weight gain did not differ except for EM sows who were the heaviest and fattest mothers at parturition. Offspring birth weight did not differ across treatments. Subcutaneous adipose tissue from EM offspring differed significantly from controls, with elevated mRNA levels of lipogenic (CD36, ACACB and LPL), nutrient transporters (FABP4 and GLUT4), lipolysis (HSL and ATGL), adipocyte size (MEST) and inflammation (PAI-1) indicators. The subcutaneous adipose depot from L offspring exhibited elevated levels of CD36, ACACB, LPL, GLUT4 and FABP4 mRNA transcripts compared to control offspring. Conclusions Increasing gestational weight gain in early gestation had the greatest impact on offspring postnatal growth rate. Increasing maternal food allowance in late gestation appeared to shift the offspring adipocyte focus towards accumulation of fat. Mothers who gained the most weight during gestation (EM mothers) gave birth to offspring whose subcutaneous adipose tissue, at adolescence, appeared hyperactive compared to controls. This study concluded that mothers, who gained more than the recommended weight gain in mid and late gestation, put their offspring adipose tissue at risk of dysfunction.
    • The Effect of Dietary Supplementation with Spent Cider Yeast on the Swine Distal Gut Microbiome

      Upadrasta, Aditya; O'Sulivan, Lisa; O'Sullivan, Orla; Sexton, Noel; Lawlor, Peadar G; Hill, Colin; Fitzgerald, Gerald F.; Stanton, Catherine; Ross, R Paul; Enterprise Ireland; European Union; Science Foundation Ireland; National Development Plan; CFTD/05/117 (PLOS, 09/10/2013)
      Background: There is an increasing need for alternatives to antibiotics for promoting animal health, given the increasing problems associated with antibiotic resistance. In this regard, we evaluated spent cider yeast as a potential probiotic for modifying the gut microbiota in weanling pigs using pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene libraries. Methodology and Principal Findings: Piglets aged 24–26 days were assigned to one of two study groups; control (n = 12) and treatment (n = 12). The control animals were fed with a basal diet and the treatment animals were fed with basal diet in combination with cider yeast supplement (500 ml cider yeast containing ,7.6 log CFU/ml) for 21 days. Faecal samples were collected for 16s rRNA gene compositional analysis. 16S rRNA compositional sequencing analysis of the faecal samples collected from day 0 and day 21 revealed marked differences in microbial diversity at both the phylum and genus levels between the control and treatment groups. This analysis confirmed that levels of Salmonella and Escherichia were significantly decreased in the treatment group, compared with the control (P,0.001). This data suggest a positive influence of dietary supplementation with live cider yeast on the microbial diversity of the pig distal gut. Conclusions/Significance: The effect of dietary cider yeast on porcine gut microbial communities was characterized for the first time using 16S rRNA gene compositional sequencing. Dietary cider yeast can potentially alter the gut microbiota, however such changes depend on their endogenous microbiota that causes a divergence in relative response to that given diet.
    • Genome-wide association analysis and functional annotation of positional candidate genes for feed conversion efficiency and growth rate in pigs

      Horodyska, Justyna; Hamill, Ruth M; Varley, Patrick F.; Wimmers, Klaus; European Union; 311794 (PLOS, 12/06/2017)
      Feed conversion efficiency is a measure of how well an animal converts feed into live weight and it is typically expressed as feed conversion ratio (FCR). FCR and related traits like growth rate (e.g. days to 110 kg—D110) are of high interest for animal breeders, farmers and society due to implications on animal performance, feeding costs and environmental sustainability. The objective of this study was to identify genomic regions associated with FCR and D110 in pigs. A total of 952 terminal line boars, showing an individual variation in FCR, were genotyped using 60K SNP-Chips. Markers were tested for associations with estimated breeding values (EBV) for FCR and D110. For FCR, the largest number of associated SNPs was located on chromosomes 4 (30 SNPs), 1 (25 SNPs), X (15 SNPs) and 6 (12 SNPs). The most prominent genomic regions for D110 were identified on chromosomes 15 (10 SNPs), 1 and 4 (both 9 SNPs). The most significantly associated SNPs for FCR and D110 mapped 129.8 Kb from METTL11B (chromosome 4) and 32Kb from MBD5 (chromosome 15), respectively. A list of positional genes, closest to significantly associated SNPs, was used to identify enriched pathways and biological functions related to the QTL for both traits. A number of candidate genes were significantly overrepresented in pathways of immune cell trafficking, lymphoid tissue structure, organ morphology, endocrine system function, lipid metabolism, and energy production. After resequencing the coding region of selected positional and functional candidate genes, six SNPs were genotyped in a subset of boars. SNPs in PRKDC, SELL, NR2E1 and AKRIC3 showed significant associations with EBVs for FCR/D110. The study revealed a number of chromosomal regions and candidate genes affecting FCR/D110 and pointed to corresponding biological pathways related to lipid metabolism, olfactory reception, and also immunological status.
    • Effect of Lactobacillus salivarius Bacteriocin Abp118 on the Mouse and Pig Intestinal Microbiota

      Riboulet-Bisson, Eliette; Sturme, Mark H. J.; Jeffery, Ian B.; O'Donnell, Michelle M.; Neville, B. Anne; Forde, Brian M.; Claesson, Marcus J.; Harris, Hugh; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Casey, Patrick G.; Lawlor, Peadar G; O'Toole, Paul W.; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology.; 07/IN.1/B1780 (PLOS, 17/02/2012)
      Lactobacilli are Gram-positive bacteria that are a subdominant element in the human gastrointestinal microbiota, and which are commonly used in the food industry. Some lactobacilli are considered probiotic, and have been associated with health benefits. However, there is very little culture-independent information on how consumed probiotic microorganisms might affect the entire intestinal microbiota. We therefore studied the impact of the administration of Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118, a microorganism well characterized for its probiotic properties, on the composition of the intestinal microbiota in two model animals. UCC118 has anti-infective activity due to production of the bacteriocin Abp118, a broad-spectrum class IIb bacteriocin, which we hypothesized could impact the microbiota. Mice and pigs were administered wild-type (WT) L. salivarius UCC118 cells, or a mutant lacking bacteriocin production. The microbiota composition was determined by pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from faeces. The data show that L. salivarius UCC118 administration had no significant effect on proportions of major phyla comprising the mouse microbiota, whether the strain was producing bacteriocin or not. However, L. salivarius UCC118 WT administration led to a significant decrease in Spirochaetes levels, the third major phylum in the untreated pig microbiota. In both pigs and mice, L. salivarius UCC118 administration had an effect on Firmicutes genus members. This effect was not observed when the mutant strain was administered, and was thus associated with bacteriocin production. Surprisingly, in both models, L. salivarius UCC118 administration and production of Abp118 had an effect on Gram-negative microorganisms, even though Abp118 is normally not active in vitro against this group of microorganisms. Thus L. salivarius UCC118 administration has a significant but subtle impact on mouse and pig microbiota, by a mechanism that seems at least partially bacteriocin-dependent
    • The effect of floor type in farrowing crates on piglet welfare

      Lewis, Eva; Boyle, Laura; O’Doherty, J.V.; Brophy, P.; Lynch, P Brendan (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      The effect on piglet welfare of different combinations of flooring in the sow and piglet areas of farrowing crates was examined. One hundred and three multiparous sows were housed, from one week pre-farrowing through farrowing and lactation to weaning, in farrowing crates with one of five flooring combinations: SS – slatted steel in both the sow and piglet areas of the crate; SP – slatted steel sow flooring and plasticcoated expanded metal for the piglets; AP – slatted steel (with a checker-plate panel)sow flooring and plastic-coated expanded metal for the piglets; CP – expanded cast iron sow flooring and plastic-coated expanded metal for the piglets; PP – plastic-coated woven wire sow flooring and plastic-coated expanded metal for the piglets. The number of litters assigned to SS, SP, AP, CP and PP were 27, 23, 17, 18 and 18, respectively. All piglet areas had a water-heated pad. Piglets were examined for lesions, scored from zero to three according to severity, at six locations on each foot and at seven locations on each limb during the suckling period. Addition of scores at each location yielded a foot and limb lesion score. In addition, the proportion of piglets in a litter affected by at least one injury was calculated for each of the following: the carpal joints, coronets, accessory digits, footpads. Piglet behaviour was recorded for 2 h, between 1330 and 1630, at 24 h after birth. Litters were weighed at birth and at weaning, and all deaths were recorded during the suckling period. SS litters had higher foot and limb lesion scores (P < 0.001). In addition, a greater proportion of piglets in SS litters were affected by at least one injury to the carpal joint, coronet, accessory digit and footpad (P < 0.001). SP piglets were active on the heatpad in more observations than AP piglets (P < 0.05). PP piglets were inactive in other areas of the pen in more observations than SS piglets (P < 0.05). There was no effect of treatment on piglet weight gain or mortality. It is concluded that the use of slatted steel in piglet areas of farrowing crates cannot be recommended because of injuries to piglets’ feet and limbs. The combination of slatted steel in the sow area and plastic-coated expanded metal in the piglet area encourages use of the heatpad. However, use of plastic-coated woven wire in the sow area encourages piglets to use this area which puts them in danger of being overlaid by the sow.
    • Effect of creep feeding, dietary fumaric acid and level of dairy product in the diet on post-weaning pig performance

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      Fumaric acid (FA), level of dairy product in the diet and creep feeding were evaluated in three experiments using individually fed pigs (weaned at ca. 21 days and weighing about 6 kg). They were assigned at random to treatments. In Experiment 1, the treatments were: (1) no pre-weaning creep and no FA post-weaning, (2) no pre-weaning creep and 20 g/kg FA post-weaning, (3) pre-weaning creep and no FA post-weaning, and (4) pre-weaning creep and 20 g/kg FA post-weaning. In Experiment 2, the treatments were: (1) 50 g/kg dried whey, (2) 50 g/kg whey with 20 g/kg FA, (3) 50 g/kg whey with 30 g/kg FA, (4) 200 g/kg whey, (5) 200 g/kg whey with 20 g/kg FA, (6) 200 g/kg whey with 30 g/kg FA. In Experiment 3, the treatments were: (1) high dairy product (whey plus skim milk powder) diet, (2) high dairy product diet with 20 g/kg FA, (3) low dairy product diet, (4) low dairy product diet with 20 g/kg FA. The number of pigs per treatment in Experiments 1, 2 and 3 was 16, 10 and 10, respectively. All diets contained barley, wheat, herring meal and full-fat soybean meal. In Experiment 1, FA inclusion increased intake (518 ν. 466, s.e.d. 21.5 g/day, P < 0.05), daily gain (339 ν. 280, s.e.d. 18.1 g/day, P < 0.01) and improved feed conversion rate (1.55 ν. 1.70, s.e.d. 0.06, P < 0.05) in the first 3 weeks post-weaning. In Experiment 2, there was no effect of treatment. In Experiment 3, increasing the level of dairy product in the diet increased feed intake (P = 0.06) and daily gain (P < 0.05) and improved feed conversion rate (P < 0.01). The conclusions are that FA improved post-weaning performance and that increasing the level of dairy products in postweaning diets also improved performance.
    • Measurements of the acid-binding capacity of ingredients used in pig diets

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Caffrey, Patrick J.; O'Reilly, James J; O'Connell, M Karen (Biomed Central, 2005-08-01)
      Some feed ingredients bind more acid in the stomach than others and for this reason may be best omitted from pig starter foods if gastric acidity is to be promoted. The objective of this study was to measure the acid-binding capacity (ABC) of ingredients commonly used in pig starter foods. Ingredients were categorised as follows: (i) milk products (n = 6), (ii) cereals (n = 10), (iii) root and pulp products (n = 5), (iv) vegetable proteins (n = 11), (v) meat and fish meal (n = 2), (vi) medication (n = 3), (vii) amino acids (n = 4), (viii) minerals (n = 16), (ix) acid salts (n = 4), (x) acids (n = 10). A 0.5 g sample of food was suspended in 50 ml distilled de-ionised water with continuous stirring. This suspension was titrated with 0.1 mol/L HCl or 0.1 mol/L NaOH so that approximately 10 additions of titrant was required to reach pH 3.0. The pH readings after each addition were recorded following equilibration for three minutes. ABC was calculated as the amount of acid in milliequivalents (meq) required to lower the pH of 1 kg food to (a) pH 4.0 (ABC-4) and (b) pH 3.0 (ABC-3). Categories of food had significantly different (P < 0.01) ABC values. Mean ABC-4 and ABC-3 values of the ten categories were: (i) 623 (s.d. 367.0) and 936 (s.d. 460.2), (ii) 142 (s.d. 79.2) and 324 (s.d. 146.4), (iii) 368 (s.d. 65.3) and 804 (s.d. 126.7), (iv) 381 (s.d. 186.1) and 746 (s.d. 227.0), (v) 749 (s.d. 211.6) and 1508 (s.d. 360.8), (vi) 120 (s.d. 95.6) and 261 (s.d. 163.2), (vii) 177 (s.d. 60.7) and 1078 (s.d. 359.0), (viii) 5064 (s.d. 5525.1) and 7051 (s.d. 5911.6), (ix) 5057 (s.d. 1336.6) and 8945 (s.d. 2654.1) and (x) -5883 (s.d. 4220.5) and -2591 (s.d. 2245.4) meq HCl per kg, respectively. Within category, ABC-3 and ABC- 4 values were highly correlated: R2 values of 0.80 and greater for food categories i, iv, v, vi, vii and viii. The correlation between predicted and observed ABC values of 34 mixed diets was 0.83 for ABC-4 and 0.71 for ABC-3. It was concluded that complete diets with low ABC values may be formulated through careful selection of ingredients. The final pH to which ABC is measured should matter little as ABC-3 and ABC-4 are highly correlated.
    • Effect of fumaric acid, calcium formate and mineral levels in diets on the intake and growth performance of newly weaned pigs

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The weaned pig has limited ability to acidify its stomach contents. The objective of this study (comprising three experiments) was to examine the effect of feeding diets containing fumaric acid (FA), calcium formate (CF) or diets of low acid binding capacity (ABC) on post-weaning pig performance. In all three experiments, pigs (10 per treatment) were weaned at 19 to 24 days, blocked on sex and weight and assigned at random to one of six treatments. In Experiment 1, treatments were: (1) control diet, (2) control 20 g/kg FA, (3) control 15 g/kg CF, (4) low Ca (2.8 g/kg) and P (5.1 g/kg) (LCaP) diet for seven days followed by the control diet, (5) LCaP diet for seven days followed by control 20 g/kg FA, and (6) LCaP diet for seven days followed by control 15 g/kg CF. In Experiment 2, treatments were: (1) control diet, (2) control 20 g/kg FA, (3) control 15 g/kg CF, (4) LCaP diet for 14 days followed by the control diet, (5) LCaP diet for 14 days followed by control 20 g/kg FA, and (6) LCaP diet for seven days followed by control diet. In Experiment 3, treatments were: (1) high Ca (HC) diet (12 g/kg), (2) medium Ca (MC) diet (9 g/kg), (3) low Ca (LC) diet (6 g/kg), (4) HC 20 g/kg FA, (5) MC 20 g/kg FA, and (6) LC 20 g/kg FA. Pigs were individually fed for 26 days. In Experiment 1, CF tended to depress daily feed intake (DFI) in the final two weeks (691 v. 759 and 749, (s.e. 19) g/day, P = 0.07) and overall average daily gain (322 v. 343 and 361 (s.e. 11) g/day, P = 0.09) compared with the control and FA supplemented diets, respectively. Feeding diets with LCaP for seven days post weaning increased DFI (208 v. 178, (s.e. 8) g/day, P < 0.01) in week 1 and tended to improve feed conversion rate in the first two weeks (1.65 v. 1.85, s.e. 0.10, P = 0.09). In Experiment 2, treatment had no significant effect on pig performance but feed conversion rate in weeks three and four was improved for Treatment 5 compared with Treatment 4 (1.30 v. 1.39 (s.e. 0.06) g/g, P < 0.01). In experiment 3, FA increased (P < 0.05) pig weight at day 14 (8.4 v. 7.7 (s.e. 0.2) kg) and feed intake in weeks one and two (223 v. 251, (s.e. 9) g/day). It is concluded that CF did not improve performance but reducing diet ABC or including FA in the diet did improve performance.
    • Effects of husbandry and low-dose lipopolysaccharide challenge on the acute phase response of young pigs

      Llamas Moya, S.; Boyle, Laura; Arkins, S.; Lynch, P.B. (Teagasc, 2006-02-01)
      In recent years, concern has grown for the welfare of domesticated animals in different production systems (Appleby and Hughes, 1997). Poor welfare can result in poor performance and productivity. However, the consumers are also requesting more welfare-friendly systems, as reflected by the importance that ‘organic’ and ‘free-range’ products have gained in our markets. Furthermore, there are ethical reasons for safeguarding the welfare of animals in our care. Thus, it is scientists’ task to be able to develop methods and techniques that can help to assess the welfare objectively. Traditionally, welfare assessment relied on the study of behaviour and the measurement of endocrine parameters. Acute phase response mediators and products, such as pro-inflammatory cytokines and acute phase proteins, emerged recently as potential indicators of infection and herd health status (Eckersall, 2000; Petersen et al., 2004). Thus, investigating the effects of husbandry and low-dose lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge on the acute phase response of young pigs can give valuable information on the use of these immune parameters as health and welfare indicators in pigs.
    • Studies on growth rates in pigs and the effect of birth weight

      Lynch, P.B.; Cahill, A.; Lawlor, Peadar G; Boyle, Laura; O’Doherty, J.V.; le Dividich, J. (Teagasc, 2006-03-01)
      The purpose of this study was to assess some environmental and management factors that affect growth performance on commercial pig units. In experiment 1, a survey was carried out on 22 pig units of known growth performance in south-west Ireland to compare management factors between those showing poor and good growth rates. Low growth rate appears to be due to the cumulative effect of a combination of factors. Experiment 2 was conducted to determine the effects of providing an additional feeder on performance of weaned piglets. No benefits were recorded. Feed consumed from the additional feeder was a replacement for feed that otherwise would have been consumed from the control hopper feeder. Experiment 3 was designed to determine if pig performance and efficiency of growth were affected by weight at birth and at weaning. Lightweight pigs showed inferior growth performance up to the finisher period. Although they compensated some of the inferior growth towards the time of slaughter, they never reached the weights of the heavy birth-weight animals. Males were either significantly heavier or tended to be heavier than females throughout. There was no significant difference between the sexes in the number of days to slaughter. Light and heavy pigs did not differ in the levels of IGF-1 in their blood plasma; however lightweight pigs had significantly lower IgG preweaning. Experiment 4 aimed to determine whether piglet birth weight influenced growth performance, plasma IGF-1 concentrations and muscle fibre characteristics at day 42 of life. At slaughter (Day 42) light birth weight pigs were significantly (P < 0.001) lighter. Plasma IGF-1 concentration was lower by 28% (P=0.06) in light pigs. Muscle fibre cross sectional area and total fibre number were not significantly different between groups. This study should be repeated with bigger numbers.
    • Development of on-farm control measures for the reduction of Salmonellosis in slaughter pigs

      Lynch, P Brendan; Leonard, N.; Egan, J.; Kozlowski, M.; Mannion, C. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The purpose of this study was to assess on-farm control measure for the reduction in the incidence of Salmonella on commercial pig units which were in Category 3 (high incidence) based on the slaughter-plant meat juice Elisa test under the national Salmonella control scheme. In Task 1, a survey was carried out on 86 pig units of known Salmonella status, 45 were in category 3 or high Category 2 (high incidence) and 41 were in Category 1 (low incidence). Information was collected on the physical facilities, location, ownership and management practices on these farms with a view to identifying risk factors associate with a high prevalence of Salmonellosis. Task 2 was the development (in conjunction with the farm owner/operator and his veterinary adviser) of control programmes for selected farms (n = 14). Farms were selected on the basis of being in Salmonella level Category 3 and the willingness of the operator to participate. Task 3 involved monitoring of the Salmonella incidence on the farms in Task 2 for a 24 month period. This involved collection of blood and faeces samples from pigs from each production stage on the unit at approximately 6-month intervals. Task 4 was an assessment of the costs to the pig industry (and individual producer) of measures associated with the Salmonella control programme. Task 5 was a study of the effect of hygiene, transport and lairage practices on Salmonella prevalence in slaughtered pigs.
    • The duration of the outdoor rearing period of pigs influences Iberian ham characteristics

      Carrapiso, A.I.; Jurado, Á.; Martin, L.; Garcia, C. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The effect of outdoor rearing duration (75 v 50 days) and rearing system (outdoor v indoor based systems) of Iberian pigs on the chemical composition (fatty acid composition of fat and intramuscular fat, moisture, salt, pigment concentrations and water activity of lean meat), the instrumental colour (CIEL*a*b* system) and the sensory characteristics (descriptive analysis) of dry-cured hams were investigated. The fatty acid composition of subcutaneous fat was weakly affected by outdoor rearing duration, but greatly affected by rearing system with the indoor hams showing larger proportion of saturated fatty acids than outdoor rearing. Rearing system also affected L* of subcut aneous fat (the indoor hams were lighter than the outdoor ones). The instrumental colour of lean was only affected by outdoor rearing duration (scores for a* and its derived variables were larger in the long-outdoor group than in the short-outdoor one). The effect of outdoor rearing duration on the sensory characteristics of Iberian hams was marked, 13 sensory characteristics being affected. Among them, odour intensity, flavour intensity, and flavour persistence were greater in the long-outdoor hams than in the short-outdoor ones, whereas these characteristics were not affected by rearing system. However, rearing system also had a large effect influencing 12 sensory characteristics.
    • A review of factors influencing litter size in Irish sows

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan (Biomed Central, 2007-06-01)
      Many factors influence litter size. These include genetics, gilt management, lactation length, parity distribution, disease, stress and boar fertility. In the past 20 years, litter size in Irish sows has increased by only one pig. Born alive figures now average at 11.2 pigs per litter. In this regard, Ireland is falling behind our European competitors who have made significant advances over this time. Denmark, for example, has an average figure of 12.7 pigs born alive per litter and France an average of 12.5. The single area that could be improved immediately is sow feeding. It is important that sows are fed correctly throughout pregnancy. If over-fed during pregnancy, sows will have depressed appetite during lactation. If underfed in pregnancy, sows will be too thin at farrowing. The correct way to feed a pregnant sow is to match her feed allocation to her requirement for maintenance, body growth and growth of her developing foetuses. During lactation, sows should be given as much feed as they can eat to prevent excessive loss of body condition. Liquid-feed curves should be such that lactating sows are provided with a minimum mean daily feed supply of 6.2 kg. A small proportion of sows will eat more and this could be given as supplementary dry feed. Where dry feeding is practised in the farrowing house, it is difficult to hand-feed sows to match their appetite. Ideally ad libitum wet/dry feeders should be used. From weaning to service, sows should once again be fed ad libitum. If liquid feeding, this means giving at least 60 MJ DE (digestible energy) per day during this period. If dry feeding, at least 4 kg of lactation diet should be fed daily. The effort spent perfecting sow feeding management on units should yield high dividends in the form of increased pigs born alive per litter.
    • Improvement of dry-cured Iberian ham sensory characteristics through the use of a concentrate high in oleic acid for pig feeding

      Jurado, A.; Garcia, C.; Timon, M.L.; Carrapiso, A.I. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2008)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the sensory characteristics of dry-cured hams from confined Iberian pigs fed on a high oleic (HO) concentrate (HO-Pienso hams), and to study how different the characteristics of these hams are from those of Iberian hams from the best grade (Montanera hams, from extensively reared pigs). Nearly half of the fatty acids studied were similar in HO-Pienso and Montanera hams. No differences were found for 18:1, but some major fatty acids of subcutaneous fat of Iberian hams were different between the HO-Pienso and the Montanera hams (C16:0, C18:0, C18:2). The descriptive test revealed that 15 of the 23 sensory characteristics were not significantly different between both groups of hams. No sensory differences appeared for fat appearance or lean texture characteristics, but lean appearance, oiliness, saltiness and the most intensively perceived characteristics of odour and flavour were significantly different. These differences in the sensory traits between Montanera and Pienso hams were not as marked as found in previous studies. Therefore, the use of a concentrate high in oleic acid enables simulation, at least in part, of the sensory characteristics, especially texture.
    • Effect of genetic group and feed system on locomotion score, clinical lameness and hoof disorders of pasture-based Holstein–Friesian cows

      Olmos, G.; Boyle, Laura; Horan, Brendan; Berry, Donagh P.; O'Connor, P.; Mee, John F; Hanlon, A. (Cambridge University Press, 2009-01)
      The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of the genetic group of the Holstein–Friesian (HF) and pasture-based feeding system (3 × 2 factorial arrangement) on locomotion score (six gait aspects scored from one to five), clinical lameness and hoof disorders within a seasonal calving milk production system. The three genetic groups compared had an average Economic Breeding Index (EBI) value of 40, 70 and 80: representing the Irish national average genetic merit (LOW-NA), high EBI genetic merit of North American ancestry (HIGH-NA) and high EBI genetic merit of New Zealand ancestry (HIGH-NZ), respectively. Two feed systems were compared: a high grass allowance, low-concentrate system typical of spring-calving herds in Ireland (control) and a high-concentrate system. Data from 126 cows collected across a complete lactation period were analysed using generalised estimating equations and survival analysis. Genetic group of HF had a significant effect on locomotion score, clinical lameness and hoof disorders. Higher EBI cows (HIGH-NA and HIGH-NZ) had lower hazard of poor locomotion score in some gait aspects (e.g. spine curvature) and lower odds of clinical lameness in the first 200 days post-calving (Odds ratios 0.08 and 0.24, respectively, relative to the LOW-NA) and some hoof disorders (e.g. traumatic lesions) compared with LOW-NA cows. The high-concentrate feed system showed a higher incidence and severity of digital dermatitis (P < 0.01). Thus, high EBI cows have better locomotion, fewer cases of clinical lameness and less-severe hoof disorders (i.e. digital dermatitis, white line disease and traumatic lesions) than low EBI cows. These findings have important implications for cow welfare and productivity.
    • Effect of Holstein–Friesian genetic group on peripartum and early lactation haematological and acute phase proteins profiles, health and fertility

      Olmos, G.; Boyle, Laura; Horan, Brendan; Berry, Donagh P.; Sayers, Riona; Hanlon, A.; Mee, John F (Cambridge University Press, 2009-07)
      Pasture-based Holstein–Friesian cows from three genetic groups differing in the Irish ‘Economic Breeding Index’ (EBI) value and genetic background, namely North-American (NA) national average EBI genetic merit (LOW-NA, n542), North-American high EBI genetic merit (HIGH-NA, n542) and New Zealand (NZ) high EBI genetic merit (HIGH-NZ, n542), were studied. These genetic groups have been selected in different environments: pasture for NZ and confinement for NA. The objective was to determine the effect of genetic group on haematological and acute phase proteins profiles (white blood cell (WBC) counts, red blood cell (RBC) counts, acute phase proteins: serum amyloid A (SAA) and haptoglobin), health (rectal temperature (RT), clinical mastitis (CM) and somatic cell score), calving performance (stillbirth, calving assistance) and post-partum reproductive parameters (endometritis and ovarian cyclicity). Blood sampling and data recording took place 3 weeks pre-calving up to 7 weeks post-calving. Linear mixed models, logistic regression and generalised estimating equations were used for data analysis. HIGH-NZ animals had the highest ( P,0.05) RBC mean corpuscular volume (50.0 fl), exhibited a different WBC distribution pattern ( P,0.05) and had the lowest ( P,0.05) mean RT (38.48C) for the first 10 days post-calving. These findings suggest enhanced reticulocyte turnover, peripartum response mechanisms and thermoregulation in the HIGH-NZ compared to the other two genetic groups. LOW-NA animals had the highest SAA peak throughout the peripartum period (55.12 mg/l, P,0.05) and a tendency for higher somatic cell scores ( P,0.10) in early lactation. The HIGH-NA animals had the lowest incidence of udder quarter milk sample bacteria at calving, suggesting better udder health when commencing lactation. No differences were detected between genetic groups in calving performance, post-partum reproductive parameters or CM in the first 42 days post-calving. These results suggest that while inherited peripartum adaptation strategies have been developed by the different genetic groups selected in different environments (pasture5NZ v. confinement5NA), such differences have minimal impact on peripartum clinical health.
    • Effects of dietary fibre and the provision of a foraging substrate on the welfare of sows in different grouping systems

      Boyle, Laura; Lynch, P. Brendan; Stewart, Charlotte; O’Connell, Niamh E. (Teagasc, 2010-01)
      There are no clear guidelines on how best to meet the EU legislative requirement (Council Directive 2001/88/EC) that pregnant sows and gilts should be provided with sufficient amounts of bulky or high fibre diets and high energy food to satisfy hunger and the motivation to chew. Therefore the aim of this project was to investigate the effect of increasing dietary fibre levels and providing access to a foraging substrate on the welfare of sows housed in dynamic and static groups. To achieve this a review paper was compiled and three experiments were conducted. The aim of the review paper was to assess the effectiveness of increasing dietary fibre levels on the welfare of pregnant sows. Previous research found that increasing dietary fibre levels decrease activity levels and the performance of stereotypic behaviour, and increase resting behaviour. However, high fibre diets do not appear to reduce aggression between group-housed pregnant sows. The research clearly showed that the effectiveness of high fibre diets is influenced by the source of fibre, with soluble fibres being more effective in reducing stereotypic behaviours than insoluble fibres. However the optimum fibrous ingredient, or combination of ingredients, and the optimum dietary inclusion rate for these ingredients remains unclear.
    • Nutritional intervention during gestation alters growth, body composition and gene expression patterns in skeletal muscle of pig offspring

      McNamara, L.B.; Giblin, Linda; Markham, T.; Stickland, N. C.; Berry, Donagh P.; O'Reilly, James J; Lynch, P Brendan; Kerry, J. P.; Lawlor, Peadar G; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Cambridge University Press, 2011-02)
      Variations in maternal nutrition during gestation can influence foetal growth, foetal development and permanently ‘programme’ offspring for postnatal life. The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of increased maternal nutrition during different gestation time windows on offspring growth, carcass quality, meat quality and gene expression in skeletal muscle. A total of 64 sows were assigned to the following feeding treatments: a standard control diet at a feed allocation of 2.3 kg/day throughout gestation, increased feed allowance of 4.6 kg/day from 25 to 50 days of gestation (dg), from 50 to 80 dg and from 25 to 80 dg. At weaning, Light, Medium and Heavy pigs of the same gender, within litter, were selected based on birth weight, individually penned and monitored until slaughter at 130 days post weaning. Carcass and meat quality traits of the semimembranosus (SM) muscle were recorded post mortem. A cross section of the semitendinosus (ST) muscle encompassing the deep and superficial regions were harvested from pigs (n518 per treatment) for RNA extraction and quantification of gene expression by real-time PCR. The results showed that doubling the feed intake from 25 to 50 dg reduced offspring growth, carcass weight, intramuscular fat content and increased drip loss of the SM muscle. Interestingly, protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit – a-isoform, which codes for the transcription factor calcineurin, was upregulated in the ST muscle of offspring whose mothers received increased feed allowance from 25 to 50 dg. This may provide an explanation for the previous observed increases in Type IIa muscle fibres of these offspring. Increasing the maternal feed intake from 50 to 80 dg negatively impacted pig growth and carcass weight, but produced leaner male pigs. Extending the increased maternal feed intake from 25 to 80 dg had no effect on offspring over the standard control gestation diet. Although intra-litter variation in pig weight is a problem for pig producers, increased maternal feeding offered no improvement throughout life to the lighter birth weight littermates in our study. Indeed, increased maternal nutrition at the three-gestation time windows selected provided no major benefits to the offspring.
    • Fate of Transgenic DNA from Orally Administered Bt MON810 Maize and Effects on Immune Response and Growth in Pigs

      Walsh, Maria C.; Buzoianu, Stefan G.; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Rea, Mary C.; Gelencser, Eva; Janosi, Anna; Epstein, Michelle M.; Ross, R Paul; Lawlor, Peadar G (PLOS, 2011-11-23)
      We assessed the effect of short-term feeding of genetically modified (GM: Bt MON810) maize on immune responses and growth in weanling pigs and determined the fate of the transgenic DNA and protein in-vivo. Pigs were fed a diet containing 38.9% GM or non-GM isogenic parent line maize for 31 days. We observed that IL-12 and IFNγ production from mitogenic stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells decreased (P<0.10) following 31 days of GM maize exposure. While Cry1Ab-specific IgG and IgA were not detected in the plasma of GM maize-fed pigs, the detection of the cry1Ab gene and protein was limited to the gastrointestinal digesta and was not found in the kidneys, liver, spleen, muscle, heart or blood. Feeding GM maize to weanling pigs had no effect on growth performance or body weight. IL-6 and IL-4 production from isolated splenocytes were increased (P<0.05) in response to feeding GM maize while the proportion of CD4+ T cells in the spleen decreased. In the ileum, the proportion of B cells and macrophages decreased while the proportion of CD4+ T cells increased in GM maize-fed pigs. IL-8 and IL-4 production from isolated intraepithelial and lamina propria lymphocytes were also increased (P<0.05) in response to feeding GM maize. In conclusion, there was no evidence of cry1Ab gene or protein translocation to the organs and blood of weaning pigs. The growth of pigs was not affected by feeding GM maize. Alterations in immune responses were detected; however, their biologic relevance is questionable.