British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Effect of processed and fermented soyabeans on net absorption in enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli-infected piglet small intestine

Jeroen L. Kiersa1a2a3, M.J. Robert Nouta1, Frans M. Romboutsa1, Esther E. van Andela2, Marius J.A. Nabuursa2 and Jan van der Meulena2 c1

a1 Agrotechnology and Food Sciences Group of Wageningen UR Laboratory of Food Microbiology PO Box 8129 6700 EV Wageningen The Netherlands

a2 Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen UR Animal Resources Development PO Box 65 8200 AB Lelystad The Netherlands

a3 Friesland Foods Western Europe PO Box 159 6710 BD Ede The Netherlands


Infectious diarrhoea is a major problem in both children and piglets. Infection of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) results in fluid secretion and electrolyte losses in the small intestine. In the present study the effect of processed and fermented soyabean products on net absorption during ETEC infection was investigated. Soyabean was processed into an autoclaved, a cooked and a mould-fermented (tempeh) product. The soyabean products were pre-digested and the effect of the products on net absorption in the small intestineof piglets was studied. Pairs of small-intestinal segments, one non-infected and the other ETEC-infected, were perfused simultaneously with the different products during 8h. Net absorption of fluid, DM, Na, chloride, K and total solutes was determined. Net fluid absorption washighest for cooked soyabean followed by autoclaved soyabean and tempeh as a result of the osmolality of these products. In ETEC-infected segments, cooked soyabean and tempeh showed minor fluid losses (27 (se 23) and 43 (se 20) μl/cm2, respectively) compared with the saline control (260 (se 23) μl/cm2). Tempeh resulted in a high uptake of solutes. Processed soyabean products, particularly cooked soyabean and tempeh, are beneficial in maintaining fluid balance during ETEC infection. Additionally, tempeh showed high DM and total solute absorption. Therefore, particularly, tempeh may bebeneficial in the case of post-weaning diarrhoeain piglets and possibly in children as well.

(Received June 29 2005)

(Revised January 12 2006)

(Accepted February 03 2006)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Jan van der Meulen, fax +31 320 238050, email