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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2011 11FP403 UCD €99,387

Project Title:

Marine compounds to enhance productivity and health in pigs

Project Coordinator:

Prof John O'Doherty

Project Abstract

The use of antibiotic growth-promoters was banned in EU member states from 1st January 2006 and alternative systems to maintain efficient animal production must be sought. The outcome of this ban has been the growth in the use of large amounts of therapeutic and prescription antibiotics. The overall objective of this project is to investigate the strategic use of nutraceuticals (patented natural components from seaweed discovered in RSF 06 326) to produce a wide variety of health maintenance and disease avoidance measures which will contribute to an improved and more acceptable system of animal production without the use of antibiotics. Our approach to improved animal health is to enhance the immune system of the young via maternal colostrum and milk. It is expected that maternal supplementation with sea weed extracts to sows in late gestation until weaning will enhance growth performance of pigs and improve aspects of gastrointestinal health and maturity when experimentally challenged with enterotoxigenic E. coli and Salmonella. The specific objectives of this project are to investigate (1) the effects of maternally derived laminarin and fucoidan extracts on the immune response and performance of newly weaned piglets experimentally challenged with enterotoxigenic E. coli. (2) the effects of maternally derived sea weed extracts on the immune response and performance of newly weaned piglets experimentally challenged with salmonella. This could replace the need for dietary antibiotic supplementation of pigs during the starter and grower-finisher periods and become a very inexpensive method of controlling salmonella in pig herds. The final outcome of the project is to achieve both good health status in pigs and good growth performance using feed formulation and ingredients that satisfy modern legislative and consumer demands. It will be a major advantage if pig producers are able to claim that their diets are devoid of antibiotic input.

Final Report:

Final report 11FP403 (pdf 305Kb)