In the pig industry, early weaning often causes intestinal dysfunction, which results in loss of appetite, growth retardation, high incidence of diarrhea, and increasing risks of diseases and mortality. Serine, recently classified as a conditionally non-essential amino acid, has been proved to exert strong beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammatory response, apoptosis and intestinal morphological damage, which are all caused by early weaning. ZHOU Xihong and colleagues in the CAS Institute of Subtropical Agriculture fed a group of weaned piglets aged 21 d with a basal diet plus 0.2% serine. Compared to a control group, serine supplementation increased daily body weight gain and decreased diarrhea incidence. The small intestine of serine-supplemented piglets showed regularly arranged villi and microvilli, suggesting that serine protected intestinal morphology. Moreover, dietary serine alleviated apoptosis, inflammatory response, and oxidative stress in the small intestine of early-weaned piglets.

CAS news release, August 21, 2018