Sophorolipid protects against early-weaning syndrome by improving the gut microenvironment in early-weaned piglets

Min Jin Kwak, Sun Woo Choi, Yong Soon Choi, Hanbae Lee, Kwang Youn Whang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In animals, weaning stress is the first and most critical stress. Weaning can negatively affect the growth performance of animals physically, psychologically, and pathologically. Our previous studies on the HT-29 cell line and early-weaned rats demonstrated that adequate sophorolipid (SPL) supplementation in feed could enhance the mucin-producing and wound healing capacities of the gut defense system by modulating gut microbiota. Methods: We conducted an experiment with one hundred forty 21-day-old early weaned piglets (L x Y x D). They were allocated into 4 treatment and 7 replications (4 pigs per pen) according to their initial body weight. Body weight and feed intake were measured biweekly during experimental period. After 6 weeks, 28 pigs were randomly selected and sacrificed to collect plasma, jejunum, and cecal content samples. Results: Dietary SPL supplementation at 5 and 10 mg/kg quadratically increased the average daily gain during the experimental period in the treatment groups when compared with the control group. The albumin levels of piglets fed with the SPL supplemented diet were downregulated to the normal range. Moreover, in feed, SPL supplementation at 5 and 10 mg/kg improved jejunal histological indices and gene expression levels related to mucin secretion and local inflammation markers. Consistent with these results, adequate SPL supplementation (5 and 10 mg/kg) increased the population of Prevotella, a beneficial bacterium, and its short-chain fatty acid production in the ceca of piglets. Conclusions: The occurrence of diarrhea after weaning in piglets could be reduced by feeding a 10 ppm of SPL supplemented diet which improves the gut defense system by improving the microbial population and enhancing mucin layer integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalBMC veterinary research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • Gut microbiota
  • Gut morphology
  • Local inflammation
  • Mucus
  • Pig
  • Sophorolipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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