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Effect of Turmeric on Growth, Nutrient Digestibility, Haematological Values and Intestinal Histology

26 September 2012, at 12:00am

Feeding turmeric to growing pigs stimulates the function of the intestinal epithelial cells, and absorbed turmeric may enhance haematological values, thus improving general health, according to researchers based in Thailand, but it did not impact bodyweight.

In the current issue of Journal of Swine Health and Production, Chamroon Maneewan of Maejo University in Chiangmai, Thailand, and co-authors there and at Japan's Kagawa University report their investigation into the effects of dietary turmeric on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, haematological and biochemical values and intestinal histology in nursery pigs.

A total of 48 nursery pigs were divided into groups receiving 0 per cent, 0.05 per cent, 0.10 per cent and 0.20 per cent turmeric in the feed, with four replicates. In Experiment 1, visceral organs and light microscopic parameters, e.g. intestinal villus height, were measured at 30kg body weight. Epithelial cell morphology on the villus apical surface was observed using a scanning electron microscope. In Experiment 2, blood was collected at 40 and 80kg bodyweight for haematology, triglyceride and cholesterol assays. Growth performance was compared at 90kg bodyweight.

Growth performance and carcass and visceral organ weights did not differ between turmeric and control groups.

Nutrient digestibility was higher in the 0.10 per cent group (P<0.05). Duodenal weight was lower in all treated groups than in the controls, and ileal weight was lower in the 0.10 per cent and 0.20 per cent groups (P<0.05).

At 80kg bodyweight, haematocrit was lower in the 0.10 per cent group (P<0.05). White blood cell counts were higher in the 0.10 per cent and 0.20 per cent groups, and triglycerides and cholesterol in all treated groups (P<0.05).

Cell mitosis numbers were higher in the jejunum and ileum of the 0.10 per cent and 0.20 per cent groups (P<0.05). Protuberant mucosal epithelial cells and cell clusters were observed in treated groups.

Under the conditions of this study, Maneewan and co-authors concluded that dietary turmeric promotes nutrient digestibility, enhances haematological values and induces intestinal epithelial cell hypertrophy.


Maneewan C., K. Yamauchi, A. Mekbungwan, B. Maneewan and S. Siri. 2012. Effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa Linnaeus) on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, hematological values, and intestinal histology in nursery pigs. J Swine Health Prod., 20(5):231–240.

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September 2012
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