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Review: Dietary fiber utilization and its effects on physiological functions and gut health of swine

  • R. Jha (a1) and J. D. Berrocoso (a1)
Abstract

Although dietary fiber (DF) negatively affects energy and nutrient digestibility, there is growing interest for the inclusion of its fermentable fraction in pig diets due to their functional properties and potential health benefits beyond supplying energy to the animals. This paper reviews some of the relevant information available on the role of different types of DF on digestion of nutrients in different sections of the gut, the fermentation process and its influence on gut environment, especially production and utilization of metabolites, microbial community and gut health of swine. Focus has been given on DF from feed ingredients (grains and coproducts) commonly used in pig diets. Some information on the role DF in purified form in comparison with DF in whole matrix of feed ingredients is also presented. First, composition and fractions of DF in different feed ingredients are briefly reviewed. Then, roles of different fractions of DF on digestion characteristics and physiological functions in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) are presented. Specific roles of different fractions of DF on fermentation characteristics and their effects on production and utilization of metabolites in the GIT have been discussed. In addition, roles of DF fermentation on metabolic activity and microbial community in the intestine and their effects on intestinal health are reviewed and discussed. Evidence presented in this review indicates that there is wide variation in the composition and content of DF among feed ingredients, thereby their physico-chemical properties in the GIT of swine. These variations, in turn, affect the digestion and fermentation characteristics in the GIT of swine. Digestibility of DF from different feed ingredients is more variable and lower than that of other nutrients like starch, sugars, fat and CP. Soluble fractions of DF are fermented faster, produce higher amounts of volatile fatty acid than insoluble fractions, and favors growth of beneficial microbiota. Thus, selective inclusion of DF in diets can be used as a nutritional strategy to optimize the intestinal health of pigs, despite its lower digestibility and consequential negative effect on digestibility of other nutrients.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
E-mail: rjha@hawaii.edu
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