Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Anthony J. Pescatore


The objectives of these experiments were to evaluate the main effects and interactive effects between dietary supplementation of a mannan oligosaccharide based product, Actigen® (ACT), and different levels of threonine in monogastrics, as evidenced by growth parameters, immune function, and intestinal health characteristics.

In nursery piglets, ACT supplementation decreased average daily feed intake (P=0.04), but had no effect on body weight or feed conversion ratio. There were no noted differences between threonine levels on performance traits. There were no consistent differences in complete blood count or cytokine gene expression profiles in the blood. The highest level of threonine, 77% true ileal digestible threonine:lysine (Thr:Lys), increased villus height (P=0.007) and villus height:crypt depth (P=0.01). The lowest level, 57% Thr:Lys, decreased villus surface area (P=0.04) and goblet cell density (P=0.04). Supplementation with ACT increased total goblet cell area (P=0.02) and density (P=0.05). There were no interactions observed between ACT and Thr:Lys levels.

In broiler chicks, feeding a diet containing 0.56% threonine decreased body weight (PPPP=0.07). On d 7, birds supplemented with ACT had heavier spleens as a percentage of body weight (P=0.01) compared to no ACT. When adjusted for body weight, the 0.56% threonine fed birds had smaller spleens (P=0.05) on d 7 when compared to the other threonine levels. Humerus (PPP=0.04) and birds fed 0.56% threonine had a higher concentration of potassium (PP=0.03) and few goblet cells (P=0.04) on d 7 when compared to the other threonine levels. In d 21 jejunum, supplementation with ACT reduced apical width (P=0.03) and surface area (P=0.02). An interaction was observed between ACT and threonine level in the jejunum on d 21 on basal width (P=0.03) and surface area (P=0.02), indicating that in diets lacking ACT, excess threonine increased villus size.

Overall, ACT and threonine acted primarily independently to modulate the intestinal architecture of both nursery piglets and broiler chicks. However, in broiler chicks ACT and threonine interacted to alter villus size. These results indicate that ACT and threonine have direct effects on the intestines of monogastrics.