Researchers at Bristol University have embarked on a project with the commercial company, AB Neo, to examine gut microbiota and performance in neonatal pigs.
The work has been prompted by results, seen by AB Neo, in relation to their accelerator product, Axcelera-P. Reporting a “significant breakthrough in pig performance” linked to the product, the company said it knows what the effect is on pigs, and how to achieve it, but that it is “unclear exactly why Axcelera-P works as it does”.
In seeking to answer that question, the joint work with Bristol University is targeting three key areas of research:
- Investigating the extent to which the early diet in piglets programmes long-term changes in the composition and function of intestinal microbiota. Specifically, to what extent does early-life diet influence the succession of microbial communities?
- Investigating the extent to which diet and microbiota programmes long-term effects on the developing metabolic system of the piglets. Specifically, are these only manipulable early in life, or can they be manipulated later?
- Investigating the extent to which diet, microbiota and metabolism programme long-term effects on the piglet immune system.
AB Neo’s Technical Director (Swine), Paul Toplis, said he was confident that, by working with pigs whose performance has been accelerated, there was a strong probability of identifying the specific mode of action involved.
“We can then improve the mode of action further and seek more efficient and cost effective ways to create the accelerator effect,” he said.