Phytobiotics and Organic Acids As Potential Alternatives to the Use of Antibiotics in Nursery Pig Diets

  • Kommera, S.K. (Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University) ;
  • Mateo, R.D. (Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University) ;
  • Neher, F.J. (Biomin Inc.) ;
  • Kim, S.W. (Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University)
  • Received : 2006.03.06
  • Accepted : 2006.05.30
  • Published : 2005.12.01


Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of phytobiotics and organic acids on growth performance of nursery pigs as an alternative to antibiotics. Phytobiotics refer bioactive compounds from plant materials including essential oils and herbal extracts. In Exp. 1,144 pigs, weaned at 23.4${\pm}$0.3 d age, were allotted to three dietary treatments. Treatment diets were: 1) NC (no antibiotics and no phytobiotics); 2) PC (NC+carbadox, 50 mg/kg); and 3) PB (NC+phytobiotics; 0.1% PEP1000-$1^{(R)}$. Each treatment had six replicates with eight pigs per pen. Pigs were fed the experimental diets for 5 wks in 3 phases (phase 1 for 2 wk; phase 2 for 2 wk; phase 3 for 1 wk). In Exp. 2, 192 pigs, weaned at 19.2${\pm}$0.3 d age, were allotted to three dietary treatments: 1) NC; 2) PC; and 3) PBO (NC+phytobiotics; 0.2% or 0.1% PEP1000-$1^{(R)}$ and organic acids; 0.4% or 0.2% $Biotronic^{(R)}$for the phase 1 and 2, respectively) with eight replicates per treatment and eight pigs per pen. Pigs were fed the assigned diets for 5 wks in 2 phases (phase 1 for 2 wk; phase 2 for 3 wk). Body weights were measured at the beginning of the experiment and at the end of each week in both Exp. 1 and 2. Feed intake was measured at the end of each week in both Exp. 1 and 2. Diarrhea score was measured daily during the entire period for Exp. 1 and during the phase 1 for Exp. 2. In Exp. 1, the PC had a higher (p<0.05) overall ADG than the NC, but the overall ADG of the PB did not differ (p>0.05) from the NC or the PC. In Exp. 2, the overall ADG did not differ (p>0.05) among all the treatments during the entire experimental period. The overall ADFI and the overall gain:feed ratio did not differ (p>0.05) among all the treatments during the entire experimental period in both Exp. 1 and 2. The PC had a higher (p<0.05) overall diarrhea score (harder stools) than the NC and the PB in Exp. 1, and a higher (p<0.05) overall diarrhea score than the NC in Exp. 2. The overall diarrhea score of the PB and the PBO did not differ (p>0.05) from the NC or the PC in Exp. 1 and 2. Results from this study show that the growth of pigs fed the diets with phytobiotics or the combination of phytobiotics and organic acids did not differ from those both with antibiotics and without antibiotics when tested in an environmentally controlled research facility. Further experiments are required to study the growth performance in disease challenged conditions.


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