Swine Research Could Boost Hog Production In Arkansas


By Talk Business & Politics

via KUAR (AR) - Feb 6, 2020


The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto brought swine to Arkansas when he explored the region in 1541 and pigs have been a staple livestock sector in the state ever since. Despite the long relationship between pigs and humans, there’s still a lot about swine, and their microbiome, that is still unknown. A group of scientists in the Natural State is trying to broaden that knowledge base.


A team of animal science researchers from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture recently published their findings from a longitudinal study of the swine gut microbiome.


The article, “Longitudinal investigation of the swine gut microbiome from birth to market reveals stage and growth performance associated bacteria,” was first published online in late July and features contributions from a number of researchers from the division’s Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, including Xiaofan Wang, Tsungcheng Tsai, Feilong Deng, Xiaoyuan Wei, Jianmin Chai, Joshua Knapp, Jason Apple, Charles V. Maxwell, Jung Ae Lee, Ying Li and Jiangchao Zhao.


“We are excited to publish our research on the Microbiome journal,” said Zhao, associate professor of animal science. “This is an excellent team effort.”


The gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms that co-exist within the gastrointestinal environment of an animal — in this case, within swine. A longitudinal study refers to research in which the same data is observed repeatedly over a defined period of time.


The article details research that sought to fill in the existing knowledge gap which shows that, despite recent advances in the understanding of the swine gut microbiome at different growth stages, a comprehensive longitudinal study of the lifetime dynamics from birth to market of the swine gut microbiome is still lacking.


“Following the human microbiome research area, lots of progress has been made in the swine gut microbiome in recent years,” Zhao said. “However, most of these studies are either cross-sectional or sporadic with few sampling points. Many important biological and ecological questions are still unknown in this field.”


The study itself involved...