Gut microbiome analysis in piglet models infected with Escherchia coli K88: the role of charcoal and dietary crude protein supplemented with probiotic Escherchia coli strains UM2 and UM7.
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Entrotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) K88 is a causative agent of post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) in early-weaned pigs. This study investigated the efficacy of two alternative diets, charcoal (0.1, 0.5, 1, and 2%) and a low crude protein (CP) diet (17%) supplemented with probiotic E. coli strains (UM2 and UM7), against PWD infection in ETEC K88 challenged piglets. The present study found that charcoal had no effect on the challenged piglets’ performance, ileal and colonic microbiota or their fermentation end products. There was, however, a correlation between charcoal dosage and fecal consistency score. Charcoal reduced the ileal mucosal attached ETEC K88. Feeding a low-CP diet resulted in a lower ileal ammonia concentration. The low-CP diet reduced the E. coli populations in the ileal digesta as well as lowered mRNA expression of the IL-1ß. We concluded that the use of both 1-2% charcoal diet and a low-CP diet supplemented with probiotic E. coli strains were effective in reducing the incidence and severity of PWD infection.