• Evaluation of the Efficacy and Safety of a Marine-Derived Bacillus Strain for Use as an In-Feed Probiotic for Newly Weaned Pigs

      Prieto, Maria Luz; O'Sullivan, Laurie; Tan, Shiau Pin; McLoughlin, Peter; Hughes, Helen; O'Donovan, Orla; Rea, Mary; Kent, Robert M.; Cassidy, Joseph P.; Gardiner, Gillian E.; et al. (PLOS, 2014-02-26)
      Forty eight individual pigs (8.7±0.26 kg) weaned at 28±1 d of age were used in a 22-d study to evaluate the effect of oral administration of a Bacillus pumilus spore suspension on growth performance and health indicators. Treatments (n = 16) were: (1) non-medicated diet; (2) medicated diet with apramycin (200 mg/kg) and pharmacological levels of zinc oxide (2,500 mg zinc/kg) and (3) B. pumilus diet (non-medicated diet + 1010 spores/day B. pumilus). Final body weight and average daily gain tended to be lower (P = 0.07) and feed conversion ratio was worsened (P<0.05) for the medicated treatment compared to the B. pumilus treatment. Ileal E. coli counts were lower for the B. pumilus and medicated treatments compared to the non-medicated treatment (P<0.05), perhaps as a result of increased ileal propionic acid concentrations (P<0.001). However, the medicated treatment reduced fecal (P<0.001) and cecal (P<0.05) Lactobacillus counts and tended to reduce the total cecal short chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentration (P = 0.10). Liver weights were lighter and concentrations of liver enzymes higher (P<0.05) in pigs on the medicated treatment compared to those on the non-medicated or B. pumilus treatments. Pigs on the B. pumilus treatment had lower overall lymphocyte and higher granulocyte percentages (P<0.001) and higher numbers of jejunal goblet cells (P<0.01) than pigs on either of the other two treatments or the non-medicated treatment, respectively. However, histopathological examination of the small intestine, kidneys and liver revealed no abnormalities. Overall, the B. pumilus treatment decreased ileal E. coli counts in a manner similar to the medicated treatment but without the adverse effects on growth performance, Lactobacillus counts, cecal SCFA concentration and possible liver toxicity experienced with the medicated treatment.