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Benzoic acid beneficially affects growth performance of weaned pigs which was associated with changes in gut bacterial populations, morphology indices and growth factor gene expression.

  • Chen, J L1
  • Zheng, P1
  • Zhang, C1
  • Yu, B1
  • He, J1
  • Yu, J1
  • Luo, J Q1
  • Mao, X B1
  • Huang, Z Q1
  • Chen, D W1
  • 1 Institute of Animal Nutrition, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an, Sichuan, China. , (China)
Published Article
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2017
DOI: 10.1111/jpn.12627
PMID: 27747941


This study was conducted to investigate the effects of benzoic acid (BA) on growth performance, intestinal development and intestinal barrier function in weaned pigs. Ninety weaned pigs were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: a basal diet (CON), the basal diet supplemented with 2000 mg/kg benzoic acid (BA1) and 5000 mg/kg benzoic acid (BA2). At the end of days 14 and 42, six pigs per treatment were randomly selected to collect plasma and intestinal samples. Results showed that BA supplementation not only improved final body weight, daily growth and feed conversion ratio from days 15 to 42 and days 1 to 42, but also decreased the activity of plasma diamine oxidase (day 42) and the pH values of jejunal contents (day 14) (p < 0.05). Ileal Bacillus populations (day 14) were increased by BA, while Escherichia coli counts in the ileum and caecum (day 42) were decreased (p < 0.05). Higher Lactobacillus counts occurred in the ileum (day 14, 42) of BA1-fed piglets as compared to CON and BA2-fed piglets (p < 0.05). In addition, BA supplementation increased the ratio of villus height to crypt depth (day 14, 42) and decreased the crypt depth (day 14) (p < 0.05). Growth-stimulating factors (insulin-like growth factor-1, day 42; insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor, day 14, 42) and tight junction protein (occludin, day 14, 42; zonula occludens-1, day 42)-related gene mRNA levels were upregulated in the jejunum of piglets fed BA diets (p < 0.05). In conclusion, this study provides the first evidence that BA has beneficial effects on intestinal development and intestinal barrier function of weaned pigs, which can partly explain why growth performance of pigs was improved by dietary BA supplementation.

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