British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Evaluation of large-intestinal parameters associated with dietary treatments designed to reduce the occurrence of swine dysentery

Zorica Durmica1, David W. Pethicka1, Bruce P. Mullana2, Jeisane M. Acciolya1, Hagen Schulzea3 p1 and David J. Hampsona1 c1

a1 Division of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia

a2 Agriculture Western Australia, South Perth, WA 6151, Australia

a3 Finnfeeds International Limited, PO Box 777, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 1XN, UK


Diets containing soluble NSP (sNSP) and resistant starch (RS) increase hindgut fermentation in pigs, which in turn increases the incidence of swine dysentery (SD) after infection with the intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira hyodysenteriae. In the present study pigs were fed diets based on either wheat or sorghum, fed either raw or treated by extrusion, and/or with the addition of dietary enzymes to reduce RS and/or sNSP content. The aim was to determine the effects of these treatments on pig performance, large intestinal fermentation and expression of SD. Weaned pigs (n 132) were fed experimental diets for 4 weeks, when half the pigs in each treatment group were euthanased and samples collected to assess the influence of the diet on hindgut fermentation. The remaining pigs then were infected with B. hyodysenteriae, and monitored for development of SD. In general, compared with pigs fed raw wheat, fermentation in all parts of the large intestine was reduced either by feeding raw sorghum-based diets, or by feeding diets that were extruded. The addition of enzymes that degrade RS or sNSP reduced fermentation only in the distal parts of the large intestine. The incidence of SD was lower in pigs fed sorghum-based diets, and some of the extruded diets, but none of the dietary treatments offered full protection against SD. Multiple regression analysis of the results from all three experiments showed that colonisation by spirochaetes was highly related to dietary sNSP concentrations, whilst development of SD was similarly influenced by RS content of the diet.

(Received August 07 2001)

(Revised March 15 2002)

(Accepted March 25 2002)


c1 *Corresponding author:Dr David J. Hampson, fax +61 8 9310 4144, email

p1 DSM Food Specialties, Agri Ingredients, PO Box 1, 2600 MA Delft, The Netherlands.