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Dietary copper/zinc-loaded montmorillonite improved growth performance and intestinal barrier and changed gut microbiota in weaned piglets.

  • Li, Xin1, 2, 3
  • Wen, Jiashu1, 2, 3
  • Jiao, Lefei1, 2, 3
  • Wang, Chunchun1, 2, 3
  • Hong, Qihua1, 2, 3
  • Feng, Jie1, 2, 3
  • Hu, Caihong1, 2, 3
  • 1 College of animal science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. , (China)
  • 2 Key Laboratory of Animal Feed and Nutrition of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, China. , (China)
  • 3 Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science (Eastern of China), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Hangzhou, China. , (China)
Published Article
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1111/jpn.13522
PMID: 33793003


The effects of copper/zinc-loaded montmorillonite (Cu/Zn-Mt) on growth performance, intestinal barrier and gut microbiota of weaned pigs were investigated in the present study. A total of 108 piglets (Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire; 6.36 kg; weaned at 21 ± 1 d age) were used in this experiment. The pigs were randomly assigned to three treatments with six replicates, six pigs in each replicate. The three treatments were as follows: (1) control group: basal diet; (2) Cu/Zn-Mt group: basal diet supplemented with 39 mg/kg Cu and 75 mg/kg Zn as Cu/Zn-Mt; and (3) Cu +Zn +Mt group: basal diet supplemented with the mixture of copper sulphate, zinc sulphate and montmorillonite (equivalent to the copper and zinc in the Cu/Zn-Mt treatment). The results indicated that, compared with the pigs from control group, average daily gain and gain: feed ratio were increased and the faecal score on days 7 and 14 after weaning was decreased by supplementation of Cu/Zn-Mt; intestinal transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) and expressions of tight junction protein claudin-1 and zonula occludens-1 were increased, and intestinal permeability of fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran 4 kDa was decreased by supplementation with Cu/Zn-Mt. According to the Illumina-based sequencing results, Cu/Zn-Mt supplementation increased the relative abundance of core bacteria (Lactococcus, Bacillus) at genus level and decreased the potentially pathogenic bacteria (Streptococcus and Pseudomonas) in colon of weaned piglets. However, the piglets fed with the mixture of copper sulphate, zinc sulphate and montmorillonite showed no effects in above parameters in comparison with the pigs from control group. In conclusion, dietary Cu/Zn-Mt could improve growth performance, decrease the diarrhoea and improve intestinal barrier and bacterial communities of weaned pigs. The results indicated that 'loading' of montmorillonite with Zn and Cu changed not only its chemical but also its nutritional properties. © 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

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