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Effect of feeding intact brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum on some digestive parameters and on iodine content in edible tissues in pigs

Dierick, Noël, Ovyn, Anneke, De Smet, Stefaan
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2009 v.89 no.4 pp. 584-594
swine, swine feeding, Phaeophycophyta, macroalgae, seaweed products, feeds, intestinal microorganisms, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus, stomach, small intestine, iodine, nutrient content, animal tissues, Ascophyllum nodosum
BACKGROUND: Limited research suggests that brown seaweed (extracts) may be used in pig nutrition for improving gut health and performances and for iodine enrichment of tissues. One in vitro and two in vivo experiments with dried iodine-rich intact marine seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) have been conducted with weaned piglets to further unravel the mechanisms.RESULTS: In vitro investigations revealed a statistically significant depressive effect of seaweed on pig gut flora, especially on Escherichia coli. In vivo, seaweed (10 g kg⁻¹) had a reducing effect on the E. coli load in the stomach (P = 0.07) and small intestine (P < 0.05), while the lactobacilli/E. coli ratio was enhanced (P < 0.05) in the small intestine, indicating a beneficial shift in the microbial population. Statistically significant increases (P < 0.001) in iodine content were noted for several tissues in piglets on seaweed (20 g kg⁻¹, corresponding to 10 mg iodine kg⁻¹ feed) compared with the control diet (1 mg iodine kg⁻¹ feed).CONCLUSION: Intact A. nodosum brown seaweed may be introduced in pig nutrition as a feed material with a double strategy: improvement of pig gut health and performances and iodine enrichment of porcine tissues. This feeding strategy may alleviate, but not solve, the actual iodine deficiency in Belgium.