HIE and FROSTCOATS: A Winning Combination
in the Fight Against Post-Weaning Diarrhea



The economic losses attributed to intestinal disease are staggering. E. coli poses one of the greatest threats to early-weaned pig health. Diarrhea accounts for a substantial percentage of post-weaning pig mortality, with the leading cause of diarrhea disease reportedly being K88 strain of enterotoxigenic E. coli.1 Protecting the young pig and limiting exposure to E. coli requires a high degree of sanitation and implementation of control/preventative strategies. An infectious E. coli battle can be costly and long-term. Given the potential impact on swine production, numerous dietary tactics are utilized in the battle to prevent diarrhea in young pigs. Such strategies include antibiotics, spray-dried plasma proteins, pro- and prebiotics, organic acids, zinc and copper salts, and more recently the inclusion of egg yolk antibodies obtained from laying hens hyperimmunized with specific bacterial fimbrial antigens, such as antigens for E. coli strain K88. Egg yolk antibodies are commonly called hyperimmunized egg (HIE). University research has shown young pigs are not as susceptible to the effects of an E. coli (K88) challenge when consuming HIE antibodies.2 Given concerns associated with antibiotic usage and environmental impact from excess zinc and copper, use of HIE in post-weaning diets offers producers another option in the fight against post-weaning diarrhea.

Many producers choose to use pelleted feed for early-weaned pigs due to performance advantages and given the fact that nutrient needs are best supplied by using numerous specialty ingredients, such as plasma proteins, milk products, fish meal, and modified carbohydrates that would require more management in terms of acquisition, inventory, and mixing when used in grind and mix rations. The inclusion of HIE in post-weaning diets, especially for early-weaned pigs, has proven beneficial.2 However, since HIE is heat-sensitive, the antibodies can be destroyed when included in a typical pelleted prestarter feed.

The patented FROSTCOATS® process is ideally suited for supplying HIE to weaned pigs. Like other heat-sensitive ingredients, HIE can be included in the FROSTCOATS post-pelleting, making it possible to deliver the E. coli hyperimmunized egg antibody in a pelleted product that pigs readily consume. The production of FROSTCOATS is a two-step process. First, a base pellet is produced utilizing a typical pelleting process. Then, at room temperature conditions, the coating which contains heat-sensitive ingredients, such as HIE, are applied to the outside of the base pellet. The result is a highly nutritious, very palatable pelleted feed that is preferred by young pigs.

ADM swine researchers evaluated HIE heat stability in pelleted feed products by measuring how much egg antibody (immunoglobulin Y) survived the heat from the regular pelleting process. Three pelleted feeds containing HIE were tested  -  one MOMENTUM® 10-15 product and two MOMENTUM FROSTCOATS 5-10 products. Meal samples which were not exposed to high temperature were taken for all three products prior to pelleting. HIE was added to the meal prior to pelleting for the MOMENTUM 10-15 product and the first FROSTCOATS 5-10 product.

For the second FROSTCOATS 5-10 product, HIE was added to the coating mixture and applied to the outside of the base pellet at room temperature; thus, avoiding exposure to high pelleting temperature. In essence, HIE was exposed to high temperature associated with the pelleting process for the first two pellet products, but not for the third pellet product. Temperature exposure for HIE with the first two pelleted products were 165°F and 168°F, respectively. The temperature at which HIE was exposed with the third product was approximately 70°F (room temperature). Antibody titer (IgY) for each meal and pellet sample was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and percentage of HIE survival was calculated.

Results clearly demonstrated that the regular pelleting process destroyed most of the HIE  -  38.1% survived in the first pellet product and 21.3% survived in the second pellet product. Conversely, HIE survival rate was 95.3% for the third pellet product (HIE applied in the coating). The high survival rate clearly demonstrated the FROSTCOATS technology was efficacious at protecting HIE antibodies.

The usage of HIE should span at least 10 days. Once pigs have consumed recommended amounts of MOMENTUM FROSTCOATS with HIE, pigs should be transitioned to another diet that contains HIE until pigs have consumed HIE for at least 10 days. If a meal diet will be used, producers can utilize HIE Pig Pak. Depending on susceptibility to E. coli and facility conditions, it may be advantageous to continue HIE supplementation for another 10 or more days. Warning: If an oral E. coli vaccine is being used, request that the herd veterinarian contact the manufacture of the vaccine to check on potential HIE interference with the vaccine.

Another weapon in the arsenal against diarrhea in young pigs is the use of HIE antibodies in weaned pig diets. Only the patented FROSTCOATS technology has been shown to enable the incorporation of heat-sensitive ingredients such as HIE into pelleted feeds without being destroyed. In addition, the superiority in performance of young pigs fed MOMENTUM FROSTCOATS pelleted feed versus conventional pelleted products has been well established. Adding HIE to MOMENTUM FROSTCOATS gives producers another edge in getting newly weaned pigs off to a fast, healthy start.

1 J. Animal Sci. 2003. 81:1790-1798.
2 J. Animal Sci. 2003. 81:1781-1789.



ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. , a wholly owned subsidiary of the Archer Daniels Midland Company