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Roles of Alkaline Phosphatases in Gut Health and Nutrient Utilization in Pigs Health

Consumers in Canada and around the world are now demanding antibiotic-free pork, therefore, the current trend in the swine industry is to minimize or eliminate the use of in-feed antibiotics. It is important for the Ontario pork industry to develop alternatives to use of antibiotic growth promoters to stay competitive in the market.

Investigator(s)

Principal investigator: Ming Z. Fan

What challenge does "Roles of Alkaline Phosphatases in Gut Health and Nutrient Utilization in Pigs Health" address?

Effects of systemic inflammation are well documented to adversely affect efficiency of nutrient utilization in pigs. Weaned and grow-finish pigs commonly experience mild inflammatory responses within the body, including stress at weaning, diet changes, endotoxins released from gut bacteria.

How will this research address the challenge?

Research has revealed that the enzyme, alkaline phosphatase, plays important roles in detoxifying endotoxins from pathogenic bacteria in the gut environment. Therefore, it may be possible that the addition of exogenous alkaline phosphatases to swine feed may result in reduced gut inflammation and improved gut health, leading to efficiency of nutrient utilization in commercial swine production.

What impact will the project have on agriculture?

Use of the proposed exogenous feed alkaline phosphatases would decrease gut local and systemic inflammation and improve health, growth performances and efficiency of energy and protein utilization by about 10 to 15% per kg of gain, thus potentially reduce feed cost, and enhance the Canadian pork industry profit margin and competitiveness.

Key messages

Consumers in Canada and around the world are now demanding antibiotic-free pork, therefore, the current trend in the swine industry is to minimize or eliminate the use of in-feed antibiotics. It is important for the Ontario pork industry to develop alternatives to use of antibiotic growth promoters to stay competitive in the market. Use of the proposed exogenous feed alkaline phosphatases would reduce morbidity and mortality and improve health of weanling pigs without and/or with reduced using feed antibiotics.

Other information

Partners: NSERC Discovery and CRD programs, Ontario Pork, OMAFRA-UofG research partnership program, and AAFC Swine Cluster program.

Students and collaborators: Elijah Kiarie, Anna Kate Shoveller and Dom Bureau; students and non-faculty colleagues include Ph.D. students, Xindi Yin; Wenyi Fan; as well as Tania Archbold and Weijun Wang (research associates).

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