Physiology of Small and Large Intestine of Swine - Review -

  • Mosenthin, R. (Hohenheim University, Institute of Animal Nutrition)
  • Published : 1998.10.01


The small and the large intestine of swine represent the organs that extract nutrients from feedstuffs through digestion and fermentation and that allow their absorption and incorporation into the blood circulation. Special attention is directed towards the small intestine of young pigs since the transition to a solid diet at weaning exerts major impacts on the structural and functional integrity of the small intestine. Dietary factors involved in postweaning changes of gut morphology and biochemistry such as removal of bioactive compounds in sows milk at weaning, anti-nutritional factors in weaner diets, dietary fiber and the role of voluntary feed intake will be elucidated. The microbial function of the large intestine which is carried out by a diverse population of microorganisms is dependent on substrate availability. Short chain fatty acids as main fermentation products contribute to the energy supply of the host but they are also important for the maintenance of the morphological and functional integrity of the epithelium in the colon. As a result of bacterial nitrogen assimilation in the large intestine, nitrogen is shifted from the urinary to the fecal excretion route thus saving metabolic energy to the pig because less ammonia would become available for conversion to urea.

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