Efficacy of Fecal Sampling as a Gut Proxy in the Study of Chicken Gut Microbiota.
ABSTRACT: Despite the convenience and non-invasiveness of fecal sampling, the fecal microbiota does not fully represent that of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and the efficacy of fecal sampling to accurately represent the gut microbiota in birds is poorly understood. In this study, we aim to identify the efficacy of feces as a gut proxy in birds using chickens as a model. We collected 1,026 samples from 206 chickens, including duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, and feces samples, for 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing analyses. In this study, the efficacy of feces as a gut proxy was partitioned to microbial community membership and community structure. Most taxa in the small intestine (84.11-87.28%) and ceca (99.39%) could be identified in feces. Microbial community membership was reflected with a gut anatomic feature, but community structure was not. Excluding shared microbes, the small intestine and ceca contributed 34.12 and 5.83% of the total fecal members, respectively. The composition of Firmicutes members in the small intestine and that of Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria members in the ceca could be well mirrored by the observations in fecal samples (? = 0.54-0.71 and 0.71-0.78, respectively, P < 0.001). However, there were few significant correlations for each genus between feces and each of the four gut segments, and these correlations were not high (? = -0.2-0.4, P < 0.05) for most genera. Our results suggest that fecal microbial community has a good potential to identify most taxa in the chicken gut and could moderately mirror the microbial structure in the intestine at the microbial population level with phylum specificity. However, it should be interpreted with caution by using feces as a proxy to study associations for microbial structure at individual microorganism level.
Project description:When conducting metagenomic analysis on gut microbiomes, there is no general consensus concerning the mode of sampling: non-contact (feces), noninvasive (rectal swabs), or cecal. This study aimed to determine the feasibility and comparative merits and disadvantages of using fecal samples or rectal swabs as a proxy for the cecal microbiome. Using broiler as a model, gut microbiomes were obtained from cecal, cloacal, and fecal samples and were characterized according to an analysis of the microbial community, function, and resistome. Cecal samples had higher microbial diversity than feces, while the cecum and cloaca exhibited higher levels of microbial community structure similarity compared with fecal samples. Cecal microbiota possessed higher levels of DNA replicative viability than feces, while fecal microbiota were correlated with increased metabolic activity. When feces were excreted, the abundance of antibiotic resistance genes like <i>tet</i> and <i>ErmG</i> decreased, but some antibiotic genes became more prevalent, such as <i>fexA</i>, <i>tetL</i>, and <i>vatE</i>. Interestingly, <i>Lactobacillus</i> was a dominant bacterial genus in feces that led to differences in microbial community structure, metabolism, and resistome. In conclusion, fecal microbiota have limited potential as a proxy in chicken gut microbial community studies. Thus, feces should be used with caution for characterizing gut microbiomes by metagenomic analysis.
Project description:The gut microbiota is now known as a key factor in mammalian physiology and health. Our understanding of the gut microbial communities and their effects on ecology and evolution of their hosts is extremely limited in bats which represent the second largest mammalian order. In the current study, gut microbiota of three sampling sources (small intestine, large intestine, and feces) were characterized in two sympatric and insectivorous bats (Rhinolophus sinicus and Myotis altarium) by high-throughput sequencing of the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Combining with published studies, this work reveals that Gammaproteobacteria may be a dominant class in the whole Chiroptera and Fusobacteria is less observed in bats although it has been proven to be dominant in other mammals. Our results reveal that the sampling source influences alpha diversity of the microbial community in both studied species although no significant variations of beta diversity were observed, which support that fecal samples cannot be used as a proxy of the microbiota in other gut regions in wild animals.
Project description:One of the main challenges in understanding the composition of fecal microbiota is that it can consist of microbial mixtures originating from different gastrointestinal (GI) segments. Here, we addressed this challenge for broiler chicken feces using a direct 16S rRNA gene-sequencing approach combined with multivariate statistical analyses. Broiler feces were chosen because of easy sampling and the importance for pathogen transmission to the human food chain. Feces were sampled daily for 16 days from chickens with and without a feed structure-induced stimulation of the gastric barrier function. Overall, we found four dominant microbial phylogroups in the feces. Two of the phylogroups were related to clostridia, one to lactobacilli, and one to Escherichia/Shigella. The relative composition of these phylogroups showed apparent stochastic temporal fluctuations in feces. Analyses of dissected chickens at the end of the experiment, however, showed that the two clostridial phylogroups were correlated to the microbiota in the cecum/colon and the small intestine, while the upper gut (crop and gizzard) microbiota was correlated to the lactobacillus phylogroup. In addition, chickens with a stimulated gizzard also showed less of the proximate GI dominating bacterial group in the feces, supporting the importance of the gastric barrier function. In conclusion, our results suggest that GI origin is a main determinant for the chicken fecal microbiota composition. This knowledge will be important for future understanding of factors affecting shedding of both harmful and beneficial gastrointestinal bacteria through feces.
Project description:Metagenome of gut microbes has been implicated in metabolism, immunity, and health maintenance of its host. However, in most of previous studies, the microbiota was sampled from feces instead of gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In this study, we compared the microbial populations from feces at four different developmental stages and contents of four intestinal segments at maturity to examine the dynamic shift of microbiota in pigs and investigated whether adult porcine fecal samples could be used to represent samples of the GI tract. Analysis results revealed that the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes from the feces of the older pigs (2-, 3-, 6- month) were 10 times higher compared to those from piglets (1-month). As the pigs matured, so did it seem that the composition of microbiome became more stable in feces. In adult pigs, there were significant differences in microbial profiles between the contents of the small intestine and large intestine. The dominant genera in the small intestine belonged to aerobe or facultative anaerobe categories, whereas the main genera in the large intestine were all anaerobes. Compared to the GI tract, the composition of microbiome was quite different in feces. The microbial profile in large intestine was more similar to feces than those in the small intestine, with the similarity of 0.75 and 0.38 on average, respectively. Microbial functions, predicted by metagenome profiles, showed the enrichment associated with metabolism pathway and metabolic disease in large intestine and feces while higher abundance of infectious disease, immune function disease, and cancer in small intestine. Fecal microbes also showed enriched function in metabolic pathways compared to microbes from pooled gut contents. Our study extended the understanding of dynamic shift of gut microbes during pig growth and also characterized the profiles of bacterial communities across GI tracts of mature pigs.
Project description:Much work has been dedicated to identifying members of the microbial gut community that have potential to augment the growth rate of agricultural animals including chickens. Here, we assessed any correlations between the fecal microbiome, a proxy for the gut microbiome, and feed efficiency or weight gain at the pedigree chicken level, the highest tier of the production process. Because selective breeding is conducted at the pedigree level, our aim was to determine if microbiome profiles could be used to predict feed conversion or weight gain in order to improve selective breeding. Using 16s rRNA amplicon sequencing, we profiled the microbiomes of high and low weight gain (WG) birds and good and poor feed efficient (FE) birds in two pedigree lineages of broiler chickens. We also aimed to understand the dynamics of the microbiome with respect to maturation. A time series experiment was conducted, where fecal samples of chickens were collected at 6 points of the rearing process and the microbiome of these samples profiled. We identified OTUs differences at different taxonomic levels in the fecal community between high and low performing birds within each genetic line, indicating a specificity of the microbial community profiles correlated to performance factors. Using machine-learning methods, we built a classification model that could predict feed conversion performance from the fecal microbial community. With respect to maturation, we found that the fecal microbiome is dynamic in early life but stabilizes after 3 weeks of age independent of lineage. Our results indicate that the fecal microbiome profile can be used to predict feed conversion, but not weight gain in these pedigree lines. From the time series experiments, it appears that these predictions can be evaluated as early as 20 days of age. Our data also indicates that there is a genetic factor for the microbiome profile.
Project description:The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a herbivorous carnivore that is protected worldwide. The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) microbial community has widely acknowledged its vital role in host health, especially in diet digestion; However, no study to date has revealed the GIT microbiota in the red panda. Here, we characterized the microbial biogeographical characteristics in the GIT of a red panda using high-throughput sequencing technology. Significant differences were observed among GIT segments by beta diversity of microbiota, which were divided into four distinct groups: the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and feces. The stomach and duodenum showed less bacterial diversity, but contained higher bacterial abundance and the most unclassified tags. The number of species in the stomach and small intestine samples was higher than that of the large intestine and fecal samples. A total of 133 core operational taxonomic units were obtained from the GIT samples with 97% sequence identity. Proteobacteria (52.16%), Firmicutes (10.09%), and Bacteroidetes (7.90%) were the predominant phyla in the GIT of the red panda. Interestingly, Escherichia-Shigella were largely abundant in the stomach, small intestine, and feces whereas the abundance of Bacteroides in the large intestine was high. Overall, our study provides a deeper understanding of the gut biogeography of the red panda microbial population. Future research will be important to investigate the microbial culture, metagenomics and metabolism of red panda GIT, especially in Escherichia-Shigella.
Project description:Horses are exquisitely sensitive to non-specific gastrointestinal disturbances as well as systemic and extraintestinal conditions related to gut health, yet minimal data are available regarding the composition of the microbiota present in the equine stomach, small intestine, and cecum and their relation to fecal microbiota. Moreover, there is minimal information regarding the concordance of the luminal and mucosal microbial communities throughout the equine gut. Illumina-based 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing of the luminal and mucosal microbiota present in seven regions of the gastrointestinal tract of nine healthy adult horses revealed a distinct compositional divide between the small and large intestines. This disparity in composition was more pronounced within the luminal contents, but was also detected within mucosal populations. Moreover, the uniformity of the gut microbiota was much higher in the cecum and colon relative to that in the stomach, jejunum and ileum, despite a significantly higher number of unique sequences detected in the colon. Collectively, the current data suggest that while colonic samples (a proxy for feces) may provide a reasonable profile of the luminal contents of the healthy equine large intestine, they are not informative with regard to the contents of the stomach or small intestine. In contrast to the distinct difference between the highly variable upper gastrointestinal tract microbiota and relatively uniform large bowel microbiota present within the lumen, these data also demonstrate a regional continuity present in mucosal microbial communities throughout the length of the equine gut.
Project description:Cross-talk between the gut microbiota and neurochemicals affects health and well-being of animals. However, little is known about this interaction in chickens despite their importance in food production. Probiotics and live Salmonella vaccines are microbial products commonly given orally to layer pullets to improve health and ensure food safety. This study’s objective was to determine how these oral treatments, individually or in combination, would impact the gut environment of chickens. White Leghorn chicks were either non-treated (CON) or orally given probiotics (PRO), a recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine (RASV; VAX), or both (P+V). Birds were fed with probiotics daily beginning at 1-day-old and orally immunized with RASV at 4-days-old and boosted 2 weeks post-primary vaccination. At 5 weeks, ceca content, ceca tissues, and small intestinal scrapings (SISs) were collected from ten birds/group post-euthanasia for analyses. Catecholamine, but not serotonergic, metabolism was affected by treatments. Dopamine metabolism, indicated by L-DOPA and DOPAC levels, were increased in P+V birds versus CON and PRO birds. Based on 16S sequencing, beta diversity was more similar among vaccinated birds versus birds given probiotics, suggesting live Salmonella vaccination has a major selective pressure on microbial diversity. Abundances of Akkermansia muciniphila and Enterobacteriaceae positively correlated with levels of tyrosine and norepinephrine, respectively. Both enumeration and 16S sequencing, determined that PRO exhibited the greatest levels of Enterobacteriaceae in the ceca and feces, which was associated with greater IgA production against E. coli virulence factors as tested by ELISA. In summary, we demonstrate that using probiotics alone versus in combination with a live vaccine has major implications in catecholamine production and the microbiota of layer pullets. Additionally, unique correlations between changes in some neurochemicals and specific bacteria have been shown.
Project description:Disturbance of the beneficial gut microbial community is a potential collateral effect of antibiotics, which have many uses in animal agriculture (disease treatment or prevention and feed efficiency improvement). Understanding antibiotic effects on bacterial communities at different intestinal locations is essential to realize the full benefits and consequences of in-feed antibiotics. In this study, we defined the lumenal and mucosal bacterial communities from the small intestine (ileum) and large intestine (cecum and colon) plus feces, and characterized the effects of in-feed antibiotics (chlortetracycline, sulfamethazine and penicillin (ASP250)) on these communities. 16S rRNA gene sequence and metagenomic analyses of bacterial membership and functions revealed dramatic differences between small and large intestinal locations, including enrichment of Firmicutes and phage-encoding genes in the ileum. The large intestinal microbiota encoded numerous genes to degrade plant cell wall components, and these genes were lacking in the ileum. The mucosa-associated ileal microbiota harbored greater bacterial diversity than the lumen but similar membership to the mucosa of the large intestine, suggesting that most gut microbes can associate with the mucosa and might serve as an inoculum for the lumen. The collateral effects on the microbiota of antibiotic-fed animals caused divergence from that of control animals, with notable changes being increases in Escherichia coli populations in the ileum, Lachnobacterium spp. in all gut locations, and resistance genes to antibiotics not administered. Characterizing the differential metabolic capacities and response to perturbation at distinct intestinal locations will inform strategies to improve gut health and food safety.
Project description:The gut microbiome is widely studied by fecal sampling, but the extent to which stool reflects the commensal composition at intestinal sites is poorly understood. We investigated this relationship in rhesus macaques by 16S sequencing feces and paired lumenal and mucosal samples from ten sites distal to the jejunum. Stool composition correlated highly with the colonic lumen and mucosa and moderately with the distal small intestine. The mucosal microbiota varied most based on location and was enriched in oxygen-tolerant taxa (e.g., Helicobacter and Treponema), while the lumenal microbiota showed inter-individual variation and obligate anaerobe enrichment (e.g., Firmicutes). This mucosal and lumenal community variability corresponded to functional differences, such as nutrient availability. Additionally, Helicobacter, Faecalibacterium, and Lactobacillus levels in stool were highly predictive of their abundance at most other gut sites. These results quantify the composition and biogeographic relationships between gut microbial communities in macaques and support fecal sampling for translational studies.