Precision delivery coated butyrate: tackling Salmonella in pigs while increasing performance


Tim Goossens, Ph.D, Global Scientific and Technical Manager at Adisseo



In the swine industry, Salmonella may be present during the entire production life cycle in pigs and disseminated in faeces for several weeks or months without signs of clinical diseases. When Salmonella is present in the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT), it might contaminate carcasses during the slaughter process, and become a source of food poisoning and bacterial gastro-enteritis in humans.


Butyrate as part of Salmonella control program

While certain additives might be useful to restrain the growth of Salmonella bacteria in drinking water and feed, some active ingredients also have the potential to tackle Salmonella colonization in the GIT of animals.


Butyrate, salt of a short-chain fatty acid, can downregulate Specific Pathogenicity Island 1 (SPI1) genes inside Salmonella bacteria, suppressing Salmonella from invading intestinal epithelial cells and colonising the intestinal tract in pigs. In addition, butyrate can trigger the expression of antimicrobial Host Defense Peptides (HDP’s) in the GIT of animals, thereby limiting the growth of several enteric bacterial genera including Salmonella.


What’s more, butyrate is well known to elicit many other effects at the cellular or physiological level in the GIT: for example, as an energy source by epithelial cells lining the intestines, and as a modulator of pro-inflammatory cytokine and enteric hormones  production, strengthening cellular junctions between enterocytes.


However, it is important to note that only an excellent protective coating and precisely delivered butyrate throughout the entire GIT, are able to provide the broadest possible benefits and effective salmonella control in pigs.


Evaluating a coated butyrate in Salmonella-infected swine

In two recently published papers, researchers from the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland have evaluated a high-quality coated butyrate (Adimix® Precision, Adisseo) in Salmonella-infected swine. In both trials, natural transmission of Salmonella on farms was mimicked by infecting seeder pigs with Salmonella Typhimurium, and to use their faecal material to contaminate pens with relatively low amounts of Salmonella.


In one trial, 7 week-old Salmonella-challenged grower pigs received different dietary treatments (control versus Adimix® Precision supplementation) for 28 days, while in the other trial, finishing pigs were contaminated 5 weeks before slaughter, and supplemented with different feeds from 4 weeks before slaughter onwards.


Both trials have clearly demonstrated effects of Adimix® Precision on Salmonella load (Figure 1). In the grower trial, significantly lower number of Salmonella were found in the faeces after 2 days and 7 days of treatment. The finisher trial study showed that at day 28, the probability of detecting Salmonella in faeces was strongly reduced in Adimix® Precision treated group (30%), compared to the control group (66%). This resulted in a statistically significant reduction of Salmonella seroprevalence at slaughter (Figure 2). 


On top of the effect on Salmonella, performance improvement in average daily feed intake (ADFI), average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) was observed for the pigs receiving Adimix® Precision in both trials (Figure 3). Remarkably, even with an inclusion level of 3 kg of Adimix® Precision per ton of feed, positive return over investment (ROI) is achieved compared to the infected control group.


Part of a comprehensive program

It is important to mention that the trial was set up to scientifically evaluate the potential of supplementing a high dosage in the growing and finishing stage only. Other experiments that were conducted in the past, both in institutes and in the field, highlighted the extra benefits of administering Adimix® Precision in other stages as well, such as in weaning piglets.


It should be stressed that reduction of Salmonella load from production to slaughter can only be achieved with a comprehensive approach, combining the use of feed additives and the implementation of several hygienic measures and biosecurity protocols.


In summary, above results have proved that precision delivered coated butyrate is capable to suppress enteric growth of Salmonella in GIT of pigs under field conditions, contributing to food safety on top of intestinal health and animal performance.


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Article made possible through the contribution of Tim Goossens, Ph.D and Adisseo