Background: The present study evaluated the effects of maternal probiotics or synbiotics addition on growth performance, carcass traits, meat quality, plasma metabolites, and related gene expression of their offspring pigs.
Methods: A total of 64 Bama mini-pigs were used and randomly divided into the control, antibiotic, probiotics, or synbiotics groups, and fed experimental diets during pregnancy and lactation. After weaning, two piglets per litter and eight piglets per group were selected and fed a basal diet. At 65-, 95-, and 125-day-old, eight pigs per group were selected for analysis.
Results: The results showed that probiotics addition increased the ADFI of pigs during the 66-95 day-old and the backfat thickness at 65- and 125-day-old, whereas synbiotics addition increased backfat thickness and decreased muscle percentage and loin-eye area at 125-day-old. In meat quality, probiotics or synbiotics addition increased cooking yield, pH 45min , and meat color, while decreased drip loss and shear force at different stages. However, maternal antibiotic addition showed an increased shear force at 125-day-old. Dietary probiotics or synbiotics addition in sow diets increased several amino acids (AA) contents in the plasma and longissimus thoracis (LT) muscle, including total AA (TAA), His, Met, Asp, Arg, and Leu, while decreased Gly, Pro, Ile, α-AAA, α-ABA, β-Ala, and γ-ABA at different stages. In the LT muscle fatty acid (FA) analysis, the contents of saturated FA (SFA; including C16:0, C17:0, and C20:0) and C18:1n9t were decreased, and the contents of C18:2n6c, MUFA (C16:1 and C20:1) and UFA were increased in the probiotics group, while the contents of SFA (C10:0, C12:0, and C14:0 at 65-day-old) were increased and the contents of C20:1 and C18:1n9t were decreased in the synbiotics group. Plasma biochemical analysis revealed that maternal probiotics or synbiotics addition decreased plasma AMM, UN, and GLU, while synbiotics addition increased plasma ALT, HDL-C, and TC at different stages. Moreover, maternal probiotics or synbiotics regulated muscle fiber-type, myogenic regulatory, and lipid metabolism-related gene expressions of offspring pigs.
Conclusions: In conclusion, maternal probiotics or synbiotics addition, as a nutritional intervention strategy, improved feed intake and meat quality by altering the body's metabolism of offspring pigs and gene expressions related to meat quality.