Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp 1227–1242 | Cite as

Sulfur-containing amino acid supplementation to gilts from late pregnancy to lactation altered offspring’s intestinal microbiota and plasma metabolites

  • Md. Abul Kalam Azad
  • Gang LiuEmail author
  • Peng Bin
  • Sujuan Ding
  • Xiangfeng Kong
  • Guiping Guan
  • Yulong Yin
Applied microbial and cell physiology


Maternal nutrition during late pregnancy and lactation is highly involved with the offspring’s health status. The study was carried out to evaluate the effects of different ratios of methionine and cysteine (Met/Cys: 46% Met, 51% Met, 56% Met, and 62% Met; maintained with 0.78% of total sulfur-containing amino acids; details in “Materials and methods”) supplements in the sows’ diet from late pregnancy to lactation on offspring’s plasma metabolomics and intestinal microbiota. The results revealed that the level of serum albumin, calcium, iron, and magnesium was increased in the 51% Met group compared with the 46% Met, 56% Met, and 62% Met groups. Plasma metabolomics results indicated that the higher ratios of methionine and cysteine (0.51% Met, 0.56% Met, and 0.62% Met)–supplemented groups enriched the level of hippuric acid, retinoic acid, riboflavin, and δ-tocopherol than in the 46% Met group. Furthermore, the 51% Met–supplemented group had a higher relative abundance of Firmicutes compared with the other three groups (P < 0.05), while the 62% Met–supplemented group increased the abundance of Proteobacteria compared with the other three groups (P < 0.05) in piglets’ intestine. These results indicated that a diet consisting with 51% Met is the optimum Met/Cys ratio from late pregnancy to lactation can maintain the offspring’s health by improving the serum biochemical indicators and altering the plasma metabolomics profile and intestinal gut microbiota composition, but higher proportion of Met/Cys may increase the possible risk to offspring’s health.


Sulfur-containing amino acids Pregnancy Lactation Intestinal microbiota Plasma metabolomics 



The authors acknowledge the CAS-TWAS President’s Fellowship for international PhD students.

Funding information

This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31772642, 31672457), International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (161343KYSB20160008), Hunan Provincial Science and Technology Department (2017NK2322, 2018CT5002, 2018WK4025), Local Science and Technology Development Project guided by The Central Government (YDZX20184300002303), Double first-class construction project of Hunan Agricultural University (SYL201802003, YB2018007, CX20190497), Project for Yunnan Yin Yulong Academician Workstation from Yunan Province (2018IC087), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2018 M632963, 2019 T120705).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the Laboratory Animal Ethical Commission of the Chinese Academy of Science and approved by the Animal Care Committee of the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture (201703-64C), Chinese Academy of Science, Changsha, China.

Supplementary material

253_2019_10302_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (172 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 171 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process, Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Engineering Laboratory for Pollution Control and Waste Utilization in Livestock and Poultry ProductionChangshaChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Bioscience and BiotechnologyHunan Agricultural UniversityChangshaChina
  4. 4.Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Important Animal Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses, Joint International Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Product, Safety of Ministry of Education of China, College of Veterinary MedicineYangzhou UniversityYangzhouChina
  5. 5.Yunnan Yin Yulong Academician Workstation at Yunnan Xinan Tianyou Animal Husbandry Technology Co., Ltd.KunmingChina

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