Microbial quality of liquid feed for pigs and its impact on the porcine gut microbiome

James T. Cullen, Peadar G. Lawlor, Paul Cormican, Gillian E. Gardiner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


There is evidence that spontaneous fermentation frequently occurs in liquid pig feed that is intended to be delivered as fresh liquid feed, often with a resultant deterioration in the microbial and nutritional quality of the feed, which can negatively affect pig health and growth. Strategies including controlled fermentation with microbial inoculants, pre-fermentation or soaking of the cereal fraction of the diet, enzyme supplementation and dietary acidification have been employed to inhibit pathogens and prevent deterioration of feed nutritional quality, with promising results obtained in many cases. This review evaluates the impact of these strategies on the microbial quality of liquid feed and discusses how they can be further improved. It also investigates if/how these strategies impact the pig gut microbiota and growth performance of liquid-fed pigs. Finally, we review liquid feed system sanitisation practices, which are highly variable from farm to farm and discuss the impact of these practices and whether they are beneficial or detrimental to liquid feed microbial quality. Overall, we provide a comprehensive review of the current state of knowledge on liquid feed for pigs, focusing on factors affecting microbial quality and strategies for its optimi-sation, as well as its impact on the pig gut microbiome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2983
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Fermentation
  • Gut health
  • Gut microbiome
  • Intestine
  • Liquid feed
  • Microbial quality
  • Microbiota
  • Pig


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