Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Merlin D. Lindemann


The objectives of these studies was to evaluate the effects of nucleotide (NT) supplementation of sow diets during late gestation and lactation and in nursery diets to elucidate the potential value of nucleotides for a variety of biological responses.

The studies conducted in the university research facilities showed that supplying nucleotides to sow diets during late gestation and throughout lactation had no effect on routinely measured reproductive responses or piglet growth postweaning. Nucleotides in the nursery diet had no effects on growth performance and intestinal morphology. However, the LPS-challenged pigs that consumed NT diets tended to lose less weight and consume more feed within 24 hours post-challenge. Some serum cytokines were also decreased in NT-fed pigs than in control pigs.

The studies conducted in the commercial environment showed that supplying NT to sow diets tended to reduce piglet mortality at birth and the days to rebreed. The individual piglet weight at birth and weaning as well as milk and sow serum immunoglobulin profile were not affected by NT. However, pigs from NT sows were significantly heavier than those from control sows at Week 3 and Week 6 post weaning. They also had increased ADG and ADFI throughout the nursery period. Piglets from NT sows had increased serum IgA levels at weaning and 1 week post weaned, but no effect on serum IgG and IgM levels.

A second commercial study showed that supplying NT to sow diets during late gestation had no effect on the total litter size at birth as expected. However, the piglet birth weight was increased in NT-fed sows. More sows returned to heat within 7 days postweaning.

In conclusion, adding NT to the sow diets may have beneficial effects on reproduction and the growth of piglets during the nursery in more stressful environments (as demonstrated by the commercial compared to university facility). Dietary NT supplementation in nursery may improve immunity.