Nutrition Pillar

Nutrition Pillar Overview

The Nutrition pillar integrates knowledge on diet and how dietary components, intestinal tissues, and the gut microbiome interact for the goal of robust piglet gut health and prevention of AMR spread through reduced antibiotic use. Specifically, this pillar encompasses research designed to provide significant, fundamental advances on nutrition-mediated influences on the piglet intestine and gut microbiome, including aspects of nutrition and metabolites for the identification of biomarkers to predict and diagnose intestinal inflammation and oxidative distress the potential for post-weaning diarrhea and hence the need for antibiotic use. These facets is will be investigated throughwith the overarching hypothesis: Specific, diet mediated intestinal configurations of the microbiome, metabolome, and mucosa predispose piglets to diarrhea and these configurations can be prevented by nutritional approaches. 


Research in the Nutrition Pillar focuses on four key areas: 

  • The impact of diets and nutrients on the small and large intestinal microbiomes and tissues during pre- and post-weaning in pigs. 
  • The role of inflammation and oxidative stress on post-weaning diarrhea (PWD), and the protective effects of dietary components for disease preventionon the development of post-weaning diarrhea (PWD). 
  • How to modulate enteric pathogen-permissive intestinal environments towards gut microbiome resilience and pathogen colonization resistance using diet and ingested microorganisms. 
  • Dietary strategies that enhance resilience, intestinal digestive capacity, and microbiome function during the weaning transition to mitigate host responses that lead to diarrhea. 


The Nutrition Pillar emphasizes the following research themes: 

  • NRT1: Pre-weaning nutrition and piglet gut health. 
  • NRT2: Nutrient-microbe-epithelial interactions during the weaning transition. 
  • NRT3: Nutrition-based susceptibility to diarrhea in piglets. 
  • NRT4: Diet-based approaches during weaning to improve piglet robustness and prevent diarrhea. 

Research Updates