Effectiveness of Probiotics in Pig Fattening Diets


Effectiveness of Probiotics in Pig Fattening Diets

Health and feed are major factors driving profits in pig production. Under industrial feeding conditions, pigs are subjected to many stress factors, including transportation, vaccination, heat stress, etc. These conditions can lead to decreased growth performance, gut health and mortality1.

Antibiotics have been widely used to prevent poultry and swine pathogenic bacterial diseases as well as improve meat and egg production. Continuous efforts are therefore being made to identify alternative strategies. Probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, organic acids and phytogenic feed additives could be such alternatives, with probiotics being one of the most suitable2.

Continuous usage of probiotics may support the non-specific immune system of animals and therefore, anti-infectious treatments should be reduced. Probiotics can be based on many different microbial, such as Bacillus, lactic acid bacteria, yeast, etc. However, the Bacillus-based probiotics have proven to be the ideal candidate for in-feed applications, because they are resistant to heat and tolerant to acidic conditions.

Bacillus occurs naturally in spore form, which contributes to their resiliency until they germinate in the gastrointestinal tract and grow as vegetative cells3. Bacillus spp., with soil as their natural residence are also used as probiotics, singularly or combined with lactic acidic bacteria or yeasts3. The supplementation of Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) in pig fattening feeds improved nutrient utilization, such as dry matter, which increased average daily gain (ADG) and meat quality4.

A new study was conducted  examined the effectiveness of two brands of probiotics in pig fattening diets, over three periods (starter, grower and finisher) on growth performance and nutrients digestibility5.

The study discovered an alternative to antibiotic growth promoter for fattening pigs and found the possible effect of probiotic on nutrients digestibility, which led to improve growth performance and increase economic benefits. Therefore probiotics supplementation in the diet improved the growth performance and feed efficiency of fattening pigs. Supplementing probiotics in appropriated level may be a tool to improve the intestinal micro-flora as this reduces the number of pathogenic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract in fattening pigs.

In conclusion, both types of probiotic additives improve the utilization of nutrients (DM, CP, EE, CF and GE) in feed components in the starter and grower periods of the pig fattening diets as well as improved growth performance (ADG, ADFI, FCR and UBWT) and increased economic return, when compared with the control group.


Probiotics, pig fattening diets, feed efficiency, nutrients digestibility, economic benefits, improved growth performance, alternative to antibiotic growth promoter.


  1. Giang, H.H., T.Q. Viet, B. Ogle and J.E. Lindberg, 2011. Effects of supplementation of probiotics on the performance, nutrient digestibility and faecal microflora in growing-finishing pigs. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci., 24: 655-661.
  2. Windisch, W., K. Schedle, C. Plitzner and A. Kroismayr, 2008. Use of phytogenic products as feed additives for swine and poultry. Anim. Sci., 86: E140-E148.
  3. Hong, H.A., L.H. Duc and S.M. Cutting, 2005. The use of bacterial spore formers as probiotics. FEMS Microbiol. Rev., 29: 813-835.
  4. Upadhaya, S.D., S.C. Kim, R.A. Valientes and I.H. Kim, 2015. The effect of Bacillus-based feed additive on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, fecal gas emission and pen cleanup characteristics of growing-finishing pigs. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci., 28: 999-1005.
  5. Patarapreecha, P., Jaikan, W., Juangsaman, A. and Khajarern,J., 2018. Effects of Dietary Bacillus subtilis Supplementation as Probiotics on Growth Performance and Nutrients Digestibility in Fattening Pigs. J. Nutr., 17: 634-640.