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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Research Project #435095

Research Project: Fungi as an Immunomodulator and Behavior Modifiers For Weaned Pigs

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-013-35-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Jun 1, 2019

1) To evaluate the effects of fungal supplements on natural pathogen shedding, immune development, gut health and post-weaning growth and behavior in piglets. 2) To determine response to an E. coli vaccination on the adaptive immune response. 3) To determine if delivery of the supplement or its effects are transferred to the piglets through feeding the fungi supplements to the sow.

Two hundred forty male and female piglets from 40 sows will be assigned to one of the following 6 treatments at birth and housed in farrowing rooms and nursery at a collaborator’s research farm: 1) Negative control (no antibiotics and limited zinc and copper); 2) Positive control (antibiotic); 3) 1st fungal supplement to piglets; 4) 2nd fungal supplement to piglets; 5) 1st fungal supplement to sows; 6) 2nd fungal supplement to sows. Fungal supplements will be fed daily to the sows in their feed. The fungal supplements will be given for 1 week prior to expected farrowing and continued until the piglets are weaned. The other treatments will begin at weaning. Piglets will be weighed and blocked by weight and litter. Piglets will be pen housed (groups of 6-8) at weaning and the fungal supplements provided in their feed. Antibiotic will be administered in the feed from weaning) as a positive control. Mushrooms will be obtained from farmers and dehydrated to contain max 5% moisture content. The dried mushrooms will be milled to adequate particle size and added to feed at 5% rate. A piglet from each of treatment sow deliveries and 10 piglets that are from the litters that will be assigned to the treatments. Selected piglets will be sacrificed at weaning and on d 3, 7, and 21 after weaning. Blood will be collected into 5 mL EDTA tubes for differential cell counts and for leukocyte assays, and jejunal and ileal contents and tissue will be collected for histology, PCR, and lactic acid bacteria and E. coli concentration determinations. Cameras and video equipment will be mounted in the nursery to capture behavioral responses to weaning (d 1 – d 7).