A longitudinal investigation of the effects of age, dietary fiber type and level, and injectable antimicrobials on the fecal microbiome and antimicrobial resistance of finisher pigs. Academic Article uri icon


  • Age and diet are among the factors that influence the community composition of the fecal microbiome. Additionally, antimicrobial use can alter the composition of bacterial communities. An 86-d study with finisher pigs aimed to evaluate age-related dynamics (day 98 to 177 of age), effects of types and levels of dietary fiber, and injectable antimicrobials on the fecal microbiome and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was conducted. A total of 287 pigs, housed in 36 pens, with 7 to 8 pigs per pen, fed a corn grain and soybean meal-based basal diet, formulated to contain 8.7% neutral detergent fiber (NDF), were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: 1) basal diet with no supplement, 2) basal diet supplemented with 20% distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) formulated to contain 13.6% NDF, or 3) basal diet supplemented with 14.5% sugar beet pulp (SBP) formulated to contain 13.6% NDF. Five finisher pigs from each treatment group were selected randomly, and fecal samples were collected on days 98, 110, 144, and 177 of age. In addition, fecal samples were collected from pigs that were injected intramuscularly ceftiofur hydrochloride or penicillin G on days 1 and 3 along with pen-mate-untreated controls on day 1. Fecal samples were subjected to 16S rRNA amplicon-based microbiome analysis and culture methods to quantify the abundance of total AMR coliforms and enterococci populations. The alpha-diversity, such as species richness, increased with age, and the overall bacterial composition changed with age (P =0.001) and diet (P = 0.001). Diet-associated shifts in the specific bacterial taxa were observed. The richness, diversity, and evenness of bacterial taxa did not differ between pigs that were injected with ceftiofur vs. their untreated pen mates or by dietary treatments but differed in pigs that received penicillin G injection. Both antimicrobial treatments contributed to changes in the overall fecal bacterial composition at the genus level. Collectively, the data demonstrate that both age and the diet (control vs. DDGS-, control vs. SBP-, or DDGS- vs. SBP-based diets) were associated with the overall bacterial community composition, and the impact of age on variations in fecal microbiome composition was greater than the diet. Antibiotic treatment had minimal effect on bacterial diversity and relative abundance of taxa. Furthermore, diets and antimicrobial treatment had minimal impact on the overall counts of AMR coliforms and enterococci populations in feces.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Gaire, T. N., Noyes, N. R., Scott, H. M., Ericsson, A. C., Dunmire, K., Tokach, M. D., ... Volkova, V. V.

complete list of authors

  • Gaire, Tara N||Noyes, Noelle R||Scott, H Morgan||Ericsson, Aaron C||Dunmire, Kara||Tokach, Mike D||Paulk, Chad B||Vinasco, Javier||Roenne, Boyd||Nagaraja, TG||Volkova, Victoriya V

publication date

  • January 1, 2022 11:11 AM