Fecal microbiome shifts by different forms of copper supplementations in growing pigs

Minji Kim1, Jae Hyoung Cho2, Pil-Nam Seong1, Hyunjung Jung1, Jin Young Jeong1, Sheena Kim2, Hyeri Kim2, Eun Sol Kim2, Gi Beom Keum2, Robin Guevarra2, Hyeun Bum Kim2,*
Author Information & Copyright
1Animal Nutrition and Physiology Division, National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration, Wanju 55365, Korea.
2Department of Animal Resources Science, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea.
*Corresponding Author: Hyeun Bum Kim, Department of Animal Resources Science, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea, Republic of. Phone: +82-41-550-3653. E-mail:

© Copyright 2021 Korean Society of Animal Science and Technology. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Oct 11, 2021; Revised: Oct 15, 2021; Accepted: Oct 18, 2021

Published Online: Oct 25, 2021


Copper is an essential mineral for pigs, thus it is used as a feed additive in the forms of copper sulfate. Therefore, this study aimed at characterizing the fecal microbiota shifts in pigs as fed by different forms of copper supplementation. 40 growing pigs aged 73 ± 1 days with an average weight of 30.22 ± 1.92kg were randomly divided into 5 groups. The control group (CON) fed with basal diet, while treatment groups were fed a basal diet supplemented with 100 ppm/kg of copper sulfate (CuSO<sub>4</sub>), Cu-glycine complex (CuGly), Cu-amino acid complex (CuAA), and Cu-hydroxy(4methylthio) butanoate chelate complex (CuHMB) for 28 days of trial, respectively. The data presented the comparison between inorganic and organic copper supplementation through gut microbiota in growing pigs. Alpha and Beta diversity anaylsis resulted in copper supplementation did shifted gut microbioal community structure. At the phylum level, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were the most abundant phyla at all times regardless of treatment. At the genus level, the relative abundances of <italic>Prevotella</italic>, <italic>Lactobacillus</italic>, <italic>Megasphaera</italic>, and SMB53 of the CuGly and CuHMB groups were significantly higher than those of copper sulfate and basal diet groups. Overall, this study may provide the potential role of organic copper replacing inorganic copper, resulting in increased beneficial bacteria in the pig gut.

Keywords: Copper supplementation; Gut health; Gut microbiome; Pigs