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Gut check: Innovative strategies helping to ease weaning and fight against piglet diarrhea

PhD defence, Tuesday 18 June 2024, Jiajia Xu


During her PhD studies, Jiajia Xu explored effective strategies to help piglets smoothly transition through weaning and fight against a common health issue, known as post-weaning diarrhea, in piglets. The project focused on two approaches: one traditional but optimized fermented cereals liquid feed with added beneficial probiotic, and one more innovative solution using nanobodies, also known as single domain antibodies. Both strategies aim at eliminating a harmful bacterium, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), which can disturb the gut ecology and cause severe diarrhea in both humans and pigs. The fermented liquid cereals help piglets adjust to solid food more easily and naturally combat bacteria due to its acidity. Nanobodies, on the other hand, directly bind to ETEC to avoid its infection, meanwhile neutralizing its toxin. The new research findings contribute to managing post-weaning diarrhea in piglets, and clarify if the strategies could help to reduce the antimicrobials usage in pig farming. This is crucial for lowering the risk of antibiotic resistance affecting both animal and human health.

The PhD study was completed at Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Tuesday, 18 June 2024 at 13:00
Place: Building 8814, room 3075, the Auditorium, AU Viborg, Aarhus University, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele. Click here to join the meeting

Title of PhD thesis:  Strategies to improve the weaning transition of piglets: Fermented cereal liquid feed with added probiotics and ETEC-targeted single-domain antibodies

Contact information: Jiajia Xu, e-mail: Jiajia.xu@anivet.au.dk , tel.: +45 91498211

Members of the assessment committee:

Professor Paolo Trevis, Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy

Professor Dennis Sandris Nielsen, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark 

Associate Professor Tofuko Awori Woyengo(chair), Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

Main supervisor:
Senior researcher Nuria Canibe, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

Senior researcher Helle Nygaard Lærke, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

Researcher Anna A. Schönherz, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark

Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Technical Sciences/GSTS,

Ny Munkegade 120, building 1521, 8000 Aarhus C.


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