Odette Pérez Gutiérrez from Wageningen University in the Netherlands developed a micro-array – the PIT Pig Intestinal Tract (PIT) chip – to quickly screen 600 types of bacteria from the piglet’s gut.
The microbiota of piglets is strongly affected during weaning, i.e. the period when the piglet is removed from the mother and starts having a solid diet. During this time, the number of bad Streptococcus increase, according to Odette Pérez Gutiérrez.
Pérez Gutiérrez used the chip to determine the development of the bacteria pool in the gut of piglets – from 3 days before weaning till 15 days after weaning. She found large differences – the amount of healthy Lactobacillus bacteria reduces to a great extent, which profits the growth of unhealthy Streptococcus bacteria.
The PIT chip can be used to study the effect of feed additives on the gut flora of piglets. This in turn can provide important information that can be used to support the design of sustainable dietary strategies aiming at the replacement of antibiotics.
Pérez Gutiérrez defended her PhD thesis on June 29 in Wageningen.