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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Inclusion of Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) in Pigs' Diets Affects the Intestinal Microenvironment and the Gut Microbiota

Liu, Haoyu; Ivarsson, Emma; Dicksved, Johan; Lundh, Torbjorn; Lindberg, Jan Erik


The content and composition of prebiotic plant fiber in the diet is important in promoting gut-related health. This study investigated the effects of the dietary inclusion of chicory forage and roots on the intestinal microenvironment of pigs. Thirty-seven-week-old pigs were fed 1 of 5 diets for 18 days, including a cereal-based control diet and 4 diets with the inclusion of 80 and 160 g kg(-1) body weight chicory forage (CF80 and CF160), 80 g kg(-1) chicory root (CR80), and a mix of 80 g kg(-1) and 80 g kg(-1) chicory root (CFR). The animals maintained good performance and health irrespective of diet. Bacterial community structure and diversity in ileal and colonic samples was assessed using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), combined with cloning and sequencing. Samples clustered perfectly according to gut segment with a higher bacterial diversity in colon than ileum. Distal ileum was dominated by lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and the relative amount of this group was increased by the CF160 and CFR diets. The colonic bacterial community was dominated by butyrate-producing bacteria and Prevotella. The increased relative abundance of butyrate-producing bacteria in the colon was positively correlated with the molar proportion of acetic acid and furthermore linked to the chicory forage diets (CF80 and CF160). Diets including chicory roots (CR80 and CFR) were correlated with a higher colonic abundance of Megasphaera elsdenii. The fermentation products and pH in digesta responded to diet type and were correlated with shifts in the microbiota, showing that chicory influences the intestinal microenvironment of pigs.

Published in

Applied and Environmental Microbiology
2012, Volume: 78, number: 12, pages: 4102-4109