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In this study, we evaluated the effects of seven oligosaccharides on the growth rate and stress tolerance of Lactobacillus plantarum ZLP001 in vitro, and the potential synbiotic effects of the most effective oligosaccharide [fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS)] and L. plantarum ZLP001 on the growth performance, apparent nutrient digestibility, fecal microbiota, and serum immune index in weaning piglets. Most oligosaccharides were utilized as carbohydrate sources by L. plantarum ZLP001, but we observed obvious differences in the bacterial growth depending on oligosaccharide type and concentration. Oligosaccharides and glucose significantly alleviated the decrease in L. plantarum ZLP001 viability in artificial gastric fluid, whereas none of the sugars affected viability in artificial intestinal fluid. FOS and galacto-oligosaccharide significantly improved the viability of L. plantarum ZLP001 under heat stress (65 °C for 15 and 30 min). FOS and soybean oligosaccharide significantly increased the viability of L. plantarum ZLP001 in response to cold stress (4 °C for 30 and 60 days). On the basis of the findings of in vitro experiments, we selected FOS for in vivo studies. Eighty-four weaned piglets were randomly assigned to one of the following groups: control (basal diet, no additives), freeze-dried L. plantarum ZLP001 (4.2 × 109 CFU/g, 2 g/kg diet), FOS (5 g/kg diet), and combination (0.2% L. plantarum ZLP001 + 0.5% FOS). Body weight and feed consumption were recorded for determinations of the average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and feed-to-gain ratio (F/G). On day 28, fresh fecal samples were collected to evaluate the apparent digestibility of nutrients and microbiota, and serum samples were collected to determine the immune status. L. plantarum ZLP001 plus FOS significantly increased ADG and decreased the F/G ratio compared with the no-additive control. The combination treatment also increased the apparent nutrient digestibility of dry matter and crude protein. Compared with the control and single supplementation, the combination treatment had a significant regulatory effect on the intestinal microbiota, as evidenced by increases in Lactobacillus spp. and a decrease in Enterobacteriaceae. In addition, the combination treatment increased the concentrations of serum IFN-γ and immunoglobulin G. In conclusion, FOS can be utilized well by L. plantarum ZLP001 and can be combined with it as a potential synbiotic that shows synergistic effects in weaning piglets.

Keywords: Lactobacillus plantarum; carbohydrate source; oligosaccharide; stress tolerance; synbiotic; weaning piglet.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus plantarum UALp-05Improved Gain:Feed RatioBeneficial
Lactobacillus plantarum UALp-05Improved Nutrient DigestibilityBeneficial
Lactobacillus plantarum UALp-05Increased Average Daily GainBeneficial
Lactobacillus plantarum UALp-05Regulated Intestinal MicrobiotaBeneficial

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