Effects of Zinc Oxide/Zeolite on Intestinal Morphology, Intestinal Microflora, and Diarrhea Rates in Weaned Piglets


This experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of zinc oxide/zeolite on growth performance, serum biochemistry, intestinal morphology, and microflora of weaned piglets. Two hundred and fifty-six weaned piglets (Duroc × Landrace × Large) at 21 days of age were randomly assigned to 2 groups with 8 replicates and 16 piglets in each pen. The diets of high dose of zinc oxide group (HD-ZnO) supplemented with 1500 mg/kg zinc as zinc oxide, but the diet of experimental group supplemented with 500 mg/kg zinc as zinc oxide that supported on zeolite (SR-ZnO). The experiment was conducted for 2 weeks after weanling. The results showed replacement of high-dosed zinc oxide by SR-ZnO had no significant effects on growth performance and intestinal morphology. However, the dietary supplementation of SR-ZnO reduced the diarrhea rate (P < 0.05), increased the activity of serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (P < 0.01), and tended to reduce zinc release in stomach (P = 0.06) and increase serum total protein (TP) (P = 0.07). Although there were no significant effects in ileal microflora on α diversity, the abundance of Campylobacters was found significantly decreased (P < 0.05), whereas the abundance of Clostridium was increased (P < 0.05) after lower-dosed SR-ZnO replacement. It is revealed that replacement of HD-ZnO (1500 mg/kg) by SR-ZnO (500 mg/kg) in creep feed could improve the zinc bioavailability, regulate the intestinal flora, and alleviate the postweaning diarrhea in weaned piglets. Accordingly, the application of SR-ZnO would reduce the zinc in feed and therefore benefits for the ecological environment.

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This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFD0501201), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31702127), the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program by CAST (2018QNRC001), and the Hunan Province Key Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process (2018TP1031), The Science and Technology Service Network Initiative program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KFJ-STS-QYZD-095), and Yangzhou Science and Technology Bureau-Modern Agricultural Technology Project (SNY2017030037).

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Correspondence to Dan Wan.

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Wang, J., Li, C., Yin, Y. et al. Effects of Zinc Oxide/Zeolite on Intestinal Morphology, Intestinal Microflora, and Diarrhea Rates in Weaned Piglets. Biol Trace Elem Res 199, 1405–1413 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-020-02262-0

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  • Zinc oxide/zeolite
  • Weaned piglets
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal morphology
  • Intestinal microflora