Preliminary results of a study on heat stress using live probiotic yeast showed increased resistance to heat stress and benefits to feeding behavior, according to Etienne Labussière from the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) Physiology, Environment and Genetics for the Animal and Livestock Systems (PEGASE). Labussière spoke on his research at the at the Lallemand Animal Nutrition Seventh International Levucell SB Technical Meeting, which occurred May 25 and 26 in Barcelona, Spain. 

Increasing problems with heat stress

Climate changes and the increase in swine production in hot climates (in Spain, China and other countries) indicate that heat stress will be a growing issue in swine production. Labussière described the impact of heat stress on pig performance: the bigger the animal, the more sensitive to heat stress. Heat stress is considered a risk from around 26C to 28C. While feed intake is reduced, the animal uses extra energy to eliminate body heat and growth is affected. Labussière presented the methods used at an experimental facility at INRA to study energy balance and metabolism in swine under fixed ambient temperatures.


Yeast as countermeasure

This temperature regulation system was used to conduct an in-depth study on the effects of Levucell SB supplementation on thermal heat acclimatization and energy balance in finishing pigs. To date, not all data have been fully analyzed, but the preliminary results were presented in Barcelona. They indicate that the probiotic yeast had a positive effect on growth performance under both thermo-neutral (22°C) and heat stress (28°C) ambient temperature. However, the live yeast supplementation had a greater impact under heat stress as it was able to compensate for the negative impact of heat on pig growth, through a positive effect on feeding behavior. Labussière explained in a press release, “the live yeast helped the pig to cope with heat stress through an increased number of meals.”Such findings complement ongoing research studies on the relationship between the microbiota and the gut-brain axis conducted in both animals and humans by many researchers at the moment.