“Introduction to the microbiome: Impacts, benefits, and challenges in healthy and diseased animals.”
Presented by Kyle Leistikow, PhD., Research Manager, Core Innovation – Microbial Discovery Group
Microbes are the most abundant organisms on earth. The average human body is estimated to harbor 100 trillion cells representing distinct microbial species in the gut alone – a number that makes unique bacterial genes ~150 times more abundant than the number of human genes. Therefore, many of these microbial species have evolved mutualistic associations with their host that benefit both parties throughout development. Like humans, the intestinal microbiota of swine fluctuates throughout development, and early bacterial colonization of the gastrointestinal tract plays an important role in shaping future microbial composition, disease susceptibility and pig performance.
However, the reproducibility of microbiome modulation interventions is largely dependent on host physiology, diet and feeding frequency, variation in sampling strategies, and a multitude of other environmental factors. In addition to using standardized microbiome sampling methodologies, it is important to understand how microbial interactions and subsequent microbial adaptations impact the structure and function of the swine microbiome.
Understanding these mechanisms will provide swine veterinarians the opportunity to make more informed decisions surrounding the appropriate use of prophylactic and therapeutic medications intended to improve pig health and production system efficiencies.
Poster# 55: A Multi-Year Quantitative Surveillance of Nursery Pigs Reveals Increasing Carriage of F18+ Escherichia coli.
Presented by Kaley Pederson, Microbiologist II – Microbial Discovery Group
Post-weaning diarrhea due to pathogenic E. coli poses a serious economic threat to the global swine industry. A rectal swab surveillance of 962 pigs from commercial nursery operations was conducted between 2018-2023 to quantify clinically relevant E. coli virulence genes associated with post-weaning diarrhea. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed increased quantities of several enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) associated adhesin and toxin genes in samples taken in 2022-2023 relative to previous years.
Specifically, genes encoding F18 fimbriae and ETEC-associated toxins LT, STa, and Stx2, were found in greater abundance in animals sampled between 2022-2023, indicating an increased threat of colibacillosis across nursery populations. This data suggests the need for more robust E. coli mitigation strategies and proactive surveillance efforts to reduce the presence of this pathogen in commercial swine operations.
The Effects of Fungal and Bacterial Infections and Their Toxin Metabolites on Pig Health and Performance and The Impacts of a Bacillus-Based Mitigant in the Presence of Complex Disease Syndromes.
Presented by Adrienne Woodward, PhD., MBA, Senior Manager, – United Animal Health
Pig exposure to fungal & bacterial pathogens and their toxin metabolites, as well as viral pathogens and environmental stressors, can lead to heightened inflammation, immunosuppression, and compromised gut integrity. The combination of multiple insults can create complex syndromes that further escalate disease severity, causing even greater health and performance challenges and significant economic losses.
Managing threats of complex disease syndromes requires a comprehensive approach, including effective management strategies and tools capable of protecting gut barrier function and promoting healthy gut microbiota. Results from multiple in-vitro and in-vivo studies show M-Mobilize, a Bacillus-based feed additive, delivers benefits in the presence or absence of multiple insults, including mycotoxins, fungal and bacterial pathogens, and environmental stressors. This data suggests that the negative impacts of stacked stressors on pig health and performance may be mitigated by use of M-Mobilize in diets.
The Utilization of an Integrated Technology Platform in a Commercial Research Setting Captures Individual Pig Data for Improved Management Strategies.
Presented by Greg Krahn, PhD., Manager of Research Analytics & Technical Service – United Animal Health
Historically, management decisions in swine production have often been based on metrics that are largely representative of averages within populations. This fails to reveal large variation that exists within populations, as well as factors influencing this performance variation, resulting in greater opportunity costs across pork production systems.
The use of modern technology that integrates RFID of individual animals, such as LeeO, as well as computerized feeding systems, provides a deeper understanding of factors influencing individual animals. This generates insights that can lead to the implementation of management strategies and commercial solutions for improved systemwide efficiency. The use of a modern, integrated technology platform in a large-scale commercial research setting has enabled greater understanding of factors influencing sow productivity, and the importance of lactation performance on systemwide throughput. Individual pig data has also allowed greater ability to develop management strategies for various subpopulations within commercial settings.