Diet supplementation with specific activated diatoms for the modulation of intestinal transit in pigs
Accelerated intestinal transit in pig farms is a serious problem for productive performance because it prevents the food from being digested and assimilated in its entirety, and indirectly produces an increase in the humidity of...
Accelerated intestinal transit in pig farms is a serious problem for productive performance because it prevents the food from being digested and assimilated in its entirety, and indirectly produces an increase in the humidity of feces and bedding, which is a predisposing factor for various diseases, since it increases the volatilization of irritating compounds such as NH3.
Supplementation with activated diatoms
Diatoms are algae exoskeletons with a cell wall composed of silica, whose surface has pores that allow water absorption. Spherical diatoms, specifically, have a greater capacity to absorb water through these pores, and this capacity increases when the diatoms are subjected to an activation process by which the pores of their structure are released and thus their absorption capacity is optimized.
In intensive farming, pigs consume large amounts of food per day which stimulates peristalsis by distending the digestive tract. This is where activated diatoms come into play. The surface pores absorb water molecules and reduce the volume of the intestinal bolus and therefore the speed of transit.
On the other hand, activated diatoms also have an acidifying function in the environment of the intestinal lumen. The water in the intestine dissociates and creates H+ and OH–, the hydroxyl groups (OH–) react with the silicate molecules, joining the oxygens at the ends and reducing intestinal water. The protons (H+) remain free in the intestinal lumen, slightly acidifying the medium, which favors digestive processes.
At the farm level, the diatoms activated by slowing down transit and acidifying the medium allow an improvement in the assimilation of the diet and an improvement in digestibility and in parameters such as final weight, conversion rate or humidity of feces.
Recently, a trial was carried out in pigs in the growth and fattening phase, which lasted 98 days. The animals were distributed in two treatments, a control (T1) which was not supplemented and another (T2) which was supplemented with activated diatoms throughout the trial.
The results were the following:
Activated diatoms slow intestinal transit, which is observed by a longer transit time (+107 mins.)
The pigs in the batch supplemented with activated diatoms increased by 9.4% after 98 days of evaluation compared to the control group.
The conversion rate was significantly better (-9.3% on average) in pigs fed activated diatoms.
Costs per kg of gain were significantly lower (6.4% less) with activated diatom supplementation.
By slowing down intestinal transit, better productive performance is obtained thanks to the increased assimilation of nutrients from the food.
Finally, the findings of this study highlight the relevance of addressing the challenge of accelerated intestinal transit in pig farms, since this disorder compromises productive performance by hindering complete digestion of feed and raising moisture levels in feces. and bed, factors that in turn increase the risk of diseases. Supplementation with activated diatoms emerges as an effective solution to counteract this problem.
At the farm level, the inclusion of activated diatoms results in an overall improvement in key parameters, such as an increase in the final weight of pigs, a significant improvement in the conversion rate and a substantial reduction in costs per kilogram of gain. Consequently, these results highlight the importance of considering supplementation with activated diatoms as an effective and beneficial strategy to optimize pig production in intensive farms.
The product based on activated diatoms is marketed by Biovet S. A. under the name Alquerfeed Diatom and is available in premix presentation.