Pig International - September 2017 - 18
18 ❙ PigInternational
Piglet gut health promoted
Pectin is a new feed additive used as a functional fiber
to improve gut health in weaned pigs.
BY JÜRGEN SAUTTER AND SEBASTIAN KIECKHÄVEN
Diarrhea is a reoccurring problem in young animals,
and even under good conditions farms will lose piglets
during rearing. Plant-derived feed components containing high fiber content are well-discussed in animal
husbandry because of their potential to prevent diarrhea. The feed industry is focusing on their use more
due to their potential to stabilize the intestine and their
ability to prevent the application of additional therapeutic treatment in case of diarrhea.
These plant-derived fiber components are mainly
non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). Often regarded as
detrimental for efficient digestibilities of feeds, there
are some NSP that deserve a closer look. One of
these candidates is pectin, known as a gelling agent
in food applications. Industrially extracted and
purified pectins offer a phytogenic tool for stabilizing the gastrointestinal tract in piglets. This article
provides a small overview about these pectins, their
effects on digestive stability and their advantages for
piglets in case of diarrhea.
Why should we talk about extracted pectin?
Pectin is a non-starch polysaccharide mainly extracted from apple pomace, citrus peels and sugar
beet pulp. Therefore an acid water-based extraction is
performed in which pectin, sugars and secondary plant
compounds are extracted from the cell walls of the raw
material. After that, the pectin solution is separated
from the insoluble fraction, and the pectin is isolated
via precipitation with alcohol.
Pectin is a non-starch polysaccharide mainly extract-
ed from apple pomace, citrus peels and sugar beet pulp.
The linear chain of the pectin macromolecule is
mainly made up of galacturonic acid units linked
together via 1.4-α-glycosidic bonds. Therefore, the
polygalacturonic acid content is an important factor to
consider when different types of pectin are evaluated
for feed and food applications. In its native form it is
usually called protopectin, and together with cellulose
and hemicellulose, pectin forms a very strong structure, the cell wall matrix. No doubt, the bioavailability
of this tightly bound protopectin is limited for monogastric animals. Pectin, whether native or extracted,
is non-degradable by any monogastric enzyme, but
fermentable by microorganisms, mainly bacteria.
Therefore the bioavailability depends on the bacterial
composition and concentration in the intestines.
A matured bacterial microbiome, as in adult pigs
or horses, is able to degrade and metabolize a lot of
different chemical bonds and, as a consequence, different plant derived fibers, too. It is hard to believe
that the bacterial community of young and very young
animals, which is still under development, can handle
such a complex structure. This question is enforced eswww.WATTAgNet.com ❙ September 2017