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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Nutrition

Feeding a diet with decreased protein content reduces indices of protein fermentation and the incidence of postweaning diarrhea in weaned pigs challenged with an enterotoxigenic strain of Escherichia coli1


This article in

  1. Vol. 87 No. 9, p. 2833-2843
    Received: July 3, 2008
    Accepted: May 29, 2009
    Published: December 5, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. J. M. Heo*,
  2. J. C. Kim,
  3. C. F. Hansen*,
  4. B. P. Mullan,
  5. D. J. Hampson* and
  6. J. R. Pluske* 2
  1. Animal Research Institute, School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia 6150, Australia; and
    Animal Research and Development, Department of Agriculture and Food, Locked Bag 4, Bentley Delivery Center, Western Australia 6983, Australia


This study evaluated the effect of feeding low protein (LP) diets for 7 or 14 d after weaning or a high protein (HP) diet for 14 d after weaning on postweaning diarrhea (PWD), indices of protein fermentation, and production in pigs infected or not infected per os with an enterotoxigenic strain of Escherichia coli. A total of 72 female pigs weaned at aged 21 d with initial BW of 5.9 ± 0.12 kg were used in a 3 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. The factors were 3 feeding regimens associated with different combinations of feeding duration and diet CP level: (i) HP diet (256 g of CP/kg) fed for 14 d after weaning, (ii) LP diet (175 g of CP/kg) fed for 7 d after weaning, and (iii) LP diet fed for 14 d after weaning; and infection or noninfection with an enterotoxigenic strain of E. coli (107 cfu/mL, serotype O149:K91:K88) at 72, 96, and 120 h after weaning. The LP diets were fortified with crystalline Ile and Val to achieve an ideal AA pattern. A second-stage diet (213 g of CP/kg) was fed to pigs at the conclusion of each feeding regimen, and the study finished 4 wk after weaning. None of the diets contained antimicrobials. Feeding the LP diets decreased (P < 0.001) plasma urea nitrogen, fecal ammonia nitrogen concentrations, and the incidence of PWD, but increased (P = 0.001) fecal DM content compared with pigs fed HP in the 2-wk period after weaning. Infection increased shedding of β-hemolytic E. coli (P < 0.001), the incidence of PWD (P < 0.001), and fecal ammonia nitrogen concentrations (P < 0.01), but did not interact with feeding regimen, after weaning. Pigs challenged with E. coli grew more slowly (P < 0.001) and had decreased G:F (P < 0.01) compared with nonchallenged pigs in the 4-wk period after weaning. Feeding an LP diet for 7 or 14 d after weaning markedly reduced the incidence of PWD after infection with β-hemolytic E. coli. Infection was associated with decreased indices of protein fermentation in the distal gastrointestinal tract but did not compromise the growth of weaner pigs in the 4-wk period after weaning.

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