Liu Yulan, professor of Wuhan Polytechnic University: fatty acid balance has great importance for female piglets

Professor Liu Yulan from Wuhan Polytechnic University made a report on the theme of “Application research of fatty acid balance in the Integrated Breeding of Female piglets” at the 2024 Lipid Nutrition Forum (Pig Industry) Wuhan Station. Low fecundity of sows is a common problem in pig farms in China. She believes that grease can have a positive impact on the reproductive performance of sows and the production performance of piglets, and fatty acid balance can play a significant role in the integrated breeding of mothers and piglets.

The following is a highlight review of professor Liu Yulan’s report.

Common problems in pig farms in China:Sows have a low fecundity

Low fecundity of sows is mainly manifested in three aspects: 1. low PSY; 2. high mortality before weaning; 3. low lactation capacity.1

How to solve this problem? Adding oil to the sow diet can have a positive effect

On the one hand, oil, as a high energy substance, promotes the reproductive initiation and follicle development of sows.

On the other hand, the functional oils in the oil can also affect the sow reproductive performance and piglet growth performance. Functional oils can be classified into short, medium and long chain fatty acids based on carbon chain length.

①Short chain fatty acids mainly include acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, etc. Milk fat is rich in short-chain fatty acids.2

Several studies showed that butyric acid improved the reproductive and lactation performance of sows and improved the performance of offspring piglets.

②Medium-chain fatty acids mainly include caproic acid, octanoic acid, lauric acid, etc. Coconut oil and palm kernel oil are rich in medium-chain fatty acids.

Coconut oil and palm kernel oil of natural oils are rich in medium chain fatty acids.


The results of several studies have shown that adding medium-chain fatty acids in late pregnancy and lactation can shorten the labor process and weaning interval of sows, improve the primary weight and survival rate of piglets, and can affect the growth of offspring piglets through milk transmission.

③Among long-chain fatty acids, n-6 PUFA (including linoleic acid, r-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid, etc.) and n-3 PUFA (including α -linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, etc.) are polyunsaturated fatty acids with important biological functions.


The results show that n-3 PUFA promotes the synthesis of estrogen, improves the reproductive performance of sows, and affects the growth of piglets by improving the milk quality and fatty acid composition; fish oil can also improve the reproductive performance of sows.

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