pigbONEHALTH - Feeding strategies and the establishement of reliable biomarkers to improve bone health in pigs

Diseases of the musculoskeletal system is an increasing problem in modern pig farms and negatively affects the health and welfare of pigs. The base of a healthy musculoskeletal system is an optimal bone growth and stable bone mineralization which implies a functioning homeostasis especially of calcium and phosphorus. The aim of this project is to investigate the correlation between biomarkers in serum, e.g. fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), and the phosphorus homeostasis in order to establish reliable biomarker profiles to predict the current mineral status in fattening pigs. A reliable biomarker could be used for diagnostic and prophylaxis purposes in assessing leg problems in pig herds on farms in order to prevent bone health related issues before symptoms occur. This will help to formulate diets that are adequate in regard of their mineral supply to enable strong bones in fast-growing pigs. Additionally, this project aimed to examine whether lactic acid treatment of cereals can enhance the available phosphorus in the grains and whether the lactic acid treatment of the cereals causes a similar beneficial effect on the mineral homeostasis as the common supplementation of dietary phytase. Therefore, tools to guarantee an optimal bone growth and stable bone mineralization in pigs should be improved and extended.

Detailed information about conducted trials, their results and interpretation can be followed up in current publications.




"Dietary phytase and lactic acid treated cereals caused greater taxonomic than functional adaptations in the cecal metagenome of growing pigs" by Jutamat Klinsoda, PhD Link to the publication in the Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology 1


"Maturational Changes Alter Effects of Dietary Phytase Supplementation on the Fecal Microbiome in Fattening Pigs" by Prof. Dr. Barbara U. Metzler-Zebeli Link to the publication in the Journal Microorganisms 2


"Dietary Phytase and Lactic Acid-Treated Cereal Grains Differently Affected Calcium and Phosphorus Homeostasis from Intestinal Uptake to Systemic Metabolism in a Pig Model" by Julia C. Vötterl, PhD Link to the publication in the Journal Nutrients 3


"Alterations of the Viable Ileal Microbiota of the Gut Mucosa-Lymph Node Axis in Pigs Fed Phytase and Lactic Acid-Treated Cereals" by Jutamat Klinsoda, PhD Link to the publication in the Journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology 4


"Lactic Acid Treatment of Cereals and Dietary Phytase Modified Fecal Microbiome Composition Without Affecting Expression of Virulence Factor Genes in Growing Pigs" by Jutamat Klinsoda, PhD Link to the publication in the Journal Frontiers in Microbiology   5


"Soaking in lactic acid lowers the phytate-phosphorus content and increases the resistant starch in wheat and corn grains" by Julia C. Vötterl, PhD Link to the publication in the Journal Animal Feed Science and Technology 6


Impresseions from the project pigbONEHEALTH

Wheat and Corn soaked in different lactc acid solutions (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Sampling tubes for the remaining soaking solution (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Reference standard to determine pytate content in grain samples (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Pig during feeding time (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Pig during feeding time #2 (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Sampled urine from eight pigs (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Sampling tubes (Picture ©Matthias Münnich)
Electrophysiological studies of gut mucosa in USSING chambers (Picture ©Matthias Münnich)
Bones after incineration in a muffle furnace (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Ashed bone (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Test barn with automatic feeders (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)
Fattening pigs (Picture©Julia Vötterl)
Centrifuge filled with blood samples (Picture ©Julia Vötterl)


List of all publications from the Unit Nutritional Physiology    Link to VetDoc 20

Publications of individual staff members                             Link to VetDoc 21