Data on diet and growth by giant panda in zoo Negara, Malaysia.
ABSTRACT: In this data article we present the determinations of the diet preference and growth of a pair of the giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca (David, 1869) from Zoo Negara Malaysia. Once considered as endangered, the captive giant pandas were given with nine species of local bamboo in separate indoor enclosures. We recorded data between May 25, 2014 and December 31, 2016 and analysed it based on food preference, the pattern toward food consumption and body weights using SPSS v25.0 (IBM, USA). Data on the bamboo preference, daily average bamboo provided and consumed, and factors predicting of body weight per individual are reported in this article. The data highlight correlation between panda growth (kg) to the part of bamboo consumed (kg) and exhibit the pattern of preferred part of food (i.e.: either the leaf, culm or shoots of bamboo variety) for panda consumptions. The food consumption toward the body weight was modelled using logistic regression analysis to help determine the pattern of food consumption and body weight of giant panda in the future and based on regression model 1, only consumed variable is significance to the model.
Project description:A growing body of behavioral and genetic information indicates that taste perception and food sources are highly coordinated across many animal species. For example, sweet taste perception is thought to serve to detect and motivate consumption of simple sugars in plants that provide calories. Supporting this is the observation that most plant-eating mammals examined exhibit functional sweet perception, whereas many obligate carnivores have independently lost function of their sweet taste receptors and exhibit no avidity for simple sugars that humans describe as tasting sweet. As part of a larger effort to compare taste structure/function among species, we examined both the behavioral and the molecular nature of sweet taste in a plant-eating animal that does not consume plants with abundant simple sugars, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). We evaluated two competing hypotheses: as plant-eating mammals, they should have a well-developed sweet taste system; however, as animals that do not normally consume plants with simple sugars, they may have lost sweet taste function, as has occurred in strict carnivores. In behavioral tests, giant pandas avidly consumed most natural sugars and some but not all artificial sweeteners. Cell-based assays revealed similar patterns of sweet receptor responses toward many of the sweeteners. Using mixed pairs of human and giant panda sweet taste receptor units (hT1R2+gpT1R3 and gpT1R2+hT1R3) we identified regions of the sweet receptor that may account for behavioral differences in giant pandas versus humans toward various sugars and artificial sweeteners. Thus, despite the fact that the giant panda's main food, bamboo, is very low in simple sugars, the species has a marked preference for several compounds that taste sweet to humans. We consider possible explanations for retained sweet perception in this species, including the potential extra-oral functions of sweet taste receptors that may be required for animals that consume plants.
Project description:Adaptation to a bamboo diet is an essential process for giant panda growth, and gut microbes play an important role in the digestion of the polysaccharides in bamboo. The dietary transition in giant panda cubs is particularly complex, but it is an ideal period in which to study the effects of gut microbes on polysaccharide use because their main food changes from milk to bamboo (together with some bamboo shoot and coarse pastry). Here, we used 16S rDNA and internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) DNA sequencing and metagenomic sequencing analysis to investigate the succession of the gut microbial structure in feces sampled from twin giant panda cubs during the completely dietary transition and determine the abundances of polysaccharide-metabolizing genes and their corresponding microbes to better understand the degradation of bamboo polysaccharides. Successive changes in the gut microbial diversity and structure were apparent in the growth of pandas during dietary shift process. Microbial diversity increased after the introduction of supplementary foods and then varied in a complex way for 1.5-2 years as bamboo and complex food components were introduced. They then stabilized after 2 years, when the cubs consumed a specialized bamboo diet. The microbes had more potential to metabolize the cellulose in bamboo than the hemicellulose, providing genes encoding cellulase systems corresponding to glycoside hydrolases (GHs; such as GH1, GH3, GH5, GH8, GH9, GH74, and GH94). The cellulose-metabolizing species (or genes) of gut bacteria was more abundant than that of gut fungi. Although cellulose-metabolizing species did not predominate in the gut bacterial community, microbial interactions allowed the giant pandas to achieve the necessary dietary shift and ultimately adapt to a bamboo diet.
Project description:The gut microbiota diversity of eight panda cubs was assessed during a dietary switch.Gut microbiota diversity of panda cubs significantly decreased after bamboo consumption.Carnivorous species living on a plant-based diet possess low microbial diversity.Mice were fed a bamboo diet but did not display low gut microbiota diversity.Giant pandas have an exclusive diet of bamboo; however, their gut microbiotas are more similar to carnivores than herbivores in terms of bacterial composition and their functional potential. This is inconsistent with observations that typical herbivores possess highly diverse gut microbiotas. It is unclear why the gut bacterial diversity of giant pandas is so low. Herein, the dynamic variations in the gut microbiota of eight giant panda cubs were measured using 16S rRNA gene paired-end sequencing during a dietary switch. Similar data from red panda (an herbivorous carnivore) and carnivorous species were compared with that of giant pandas. In addition, mice were fed a high-bamboo diet (80% bamboo and 20% rat feed) to determine whether a bamboo diet could lower the gut bacterial diversity in a non-carnivorous digestive tract. The diversity of giant panda gut microbiotas decreased significantly after switching from milk and complementary food to bamboo diet. Carnivorous species living on a plant-based diet, including giant and red pandas, possess a lower microbial diversity than other carnivore species. Mouse gut microbiota diversity significantly increased after adding high-fibre bamboo to their diet. Findings suggest that a very restricted diet (bamboo) within a carnivorous digestive system might be critical for shaping a low gut bacterial diversity in giant pandas.
Project description:Bamboo-eating giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is an enigmatic species, which possesses a carnivore-like short and simple gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Despite the remarkable studies on giant panda, its diet adaptability status continues to be a matter of debate. To resolve this puzzle, we investigated the functional potential of the giant panda gut microbiome using shotgun metagenomic sequencing of fecal samples. We also compared our data with similar data from other animal species representing herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores from current and earlier studies. We found that the giant panda hosts a bear-like gut microbiota distinct from those of herbivores indicated by the metabolic potential of the microbiome in the gut of giant pandas and other mammals. Furthermore, the relative abundance of genes involved in cellulose- and hemicellulose-digestion, and enrichment of enzymes associated with pathways of amino acid degradation and biosynthetic reactions in giant pandas echoed a carnivore-like microbiome. Most significantly, the enzyme assay of the giant panda's feces indicated the lowest cellulase and xylanase activity among major herbivores, shown by an in-vitro experimental assay of enzyme activity for cellulose and hemicellulose-degradation. All of our results consistently indicate that the giant panda is not specialized to digest cellulose and hemicellulose from its bamboo diet, making the giant panda a good mammalian model to study the unusual link between the gut microbiome and diet. The increased food intake of the giant pandas might be a strategy to compensate for the gut microbiome functions, highlighting a strong need of conservation of the native bamboo forest both in high- and low-altitude ranges to meet the great demand of bamboo diet of giant pandas.
Project description:Of the many peculiarities that enable the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), a member of the order Carnivora, to adapt to life as a dedicated bamboo feeder, its extra "thumb" is arguably the most celebrated yet enigmatic. In addition to the normal five digits in the hands of most mammals, the giant panda has a greatly enlarged wrist bone, the radial sesamoid, that acts as a sixth digit, an opposable "thumb" for manipulating bamboo. We report the earliest enlarged radial sesamoid, already a functional opposable "thumb," in the ancestral panda Ailurarctos from the late Miocene site of Shuitangba in Yunnan Province, China. However, since the late Miocene, the "thumb" has not enlarged further because it must be balanced with the constraints of weight bearing while walking in a plantigrade posture. This morphological adaptation in panda evolution thus reflects a dual function of the radial sesamoid for both bamboo manipulation and weight distribution. The latter constraint could be the main reason why the panda's false thumb never evolved into a full digit. This crude "thumb" suggests that the origin of the panda's dedicated bamboo diet goes back to as early as 6-7 Ma.
Project description:Gut microbes can enhance the ability of hosts to consume secondary plant compounds and, therefore, expand the dietary niche breadth of mammalian herbivores. The giant and red pandas are bamboo-eating specialists within the mammalian order Carnivora. Bamboo contains abundant plant secondary metabolites (e.g., cyanide-containing compounds). However, Carnivora species, including the giant panda, have deficient levels of rhodanese (one of the essential cyanide detoxification enzymes) in their tissues compared with the same tissues of herbivores. Here, we make a comparative analysis of 94 gut metagenomes, including 25 from bamboo-eating pandas (19 from giant pandas and 6 from red pandas), 30 from Père David's deer, and 39 from published data for other mammals. The bamboo-eating pandas' gut microbiomes had some common features, such as high proportions of Pseudomonas bacteria. The results revealed that bamboo-eating pandas' gut microbiomes were significantly enriched in putative genes coding for enzymes related to cyanide degradation (e.g., rhodanese) compared with the gut microbiomes of typical herbivorous mammals, which might have coevolved with their special bamboo diets. The enrichment of putative cyanide-digesting gut microbes, in combination with adaptations related to morphology (e.g., pseudothumbs) and genomic signatures, show that the giant panda and red panda have evolved some common traits to adapt to their bamboo diet.IMPORTANCE The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and red panda (Ailurus fulgens), two obligate bamboo feeders, have distinct phylogenetic positions in the order Carnivora. Bamboo is extraordinarily rich in plant secondary metabolites, such as allied phenolic and polyphenolic compounds and even toxic cyanide compounds. Here, the enrichment of putative cyanide-digesting gut microbes, in combination with adaptations related to morphology (e.g., pseudothumbs) and genomic signatures, show that the giant panda and red panda have evolved some common traits to adapt to their bamboo diet. Thus, here is another story of diet-driven gut microbiota in nature.
Project description:Purpose:To present the miRNA expression profiles in giant panda milk exosomes across five lactation stages (0, 3, 7, 15 and 30 days after birth), aiming to provide new information for investigations into the physiological functions of the giant panda milk Methods: Three females were sampled in all, and each individual were sampled over multiple lactations, including 0, 3, 7, 15 and 30 days after delivery. Breast milk samples (5-10 ml) were collected from each stages. Total RNA isolated from individuals in five lactation stages (0, 7, 15 and 30 days after delivery) were pooled in equal quantities for each stage Results: Here, we illustrated the species and expression characteristics of exosome-loaded miRNAs existing in giant panda breast milk during distinct lactation periods, and highlighted the enrichment of immune- and development-related endogenous miRNAs in colostral and mature giant panda milk, which are stable even in certain hash conditions, like low pH and high concentration of RNAase, by the protection of extracellular vesicles.These findings indicate that breast milk may allow dietary intake of maternal miRNAs by infants for the regulation of postnatal development. We also demonstrated that the exogenous plant miRNA from the primary food source of giant panda (bamboo) were detected in the exosomes of giant panda breast milk, which were predicted to be of regulatory role in basic cell metabolism and neuron development. This result suggested that the dietary plant miRNAs were able to be absorbed by host cell and then secreted to body fluids as potential cross-kingdom regulators. Conclusions: Exosomal miRNAs in the giant panda breast milk may be the crucial maternal regulators for the development of intrinsic ‘slink’ newborn cubs. Overall design: Three females were sampled in all, and each individual were sampled over multiple lactations, including 0, 3, 7, 15 and 30 days after delivery. Breast milk samples (5-10 ml) were collected from each stages. Total RNA isolated from individuals in five lactation stages (0, 7, 15 and 30 days after delivery) were pooled in equal quantities for each stage.
Project description:PREMISE OF THE STUDY:There is a need for microsatellite primers to analyze genetic parameters of Fargesia denudata (Poaceae), the staple-food bamboo of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). METHODS AND RESULTS:Using next-generation sequencing technology, we obtained a 75-Mb assembled sequence of F. denudata and identified 182 microsatellites. Primer pairs for 70 candidate microsatellite markers were selected and validated in four individuals, and 42 primer pairs generated reliable amplicons. Fourteen of 16 tested markers were found to be polymorphic in 72 individuals from four F. denudata populations. The number of alleles ranged from two to 19 per locus; the observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0 to 1 and from 0 to 0.87, respectively. The transferability of these 16 novel microsatellite markers was validated in five related species. CONCLUSIONS:These markers will be useful for examining the genetic diversity, genetic structure, and cloning of F. denudata, the staple-food bamboo of the giant panda, and related bamboo species.
Project description:The giant panda has developed a series of evolutionary strategies to adapt to a bamboo diet. The abundance and diversity of the phyllosphere microbiome change dramatically depending on the season, host species, location, etc., which may, in turn, affect the growth and health of host plants. However, few studies have investigated the factors that influence phyllosphere bacteria in bamboo, a staple food source of the giant panda. Amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene was used to explore the abundance and diversity of phyllosphere bacteria in three bamboo species (<i>Arundinaria spanostachya</i>, <i>Yushania lineolate</i>, and <i>Fargesia ferax</i>) over different seasons (spring vs. autumn), elevation, distance from water, etc., in Liziping National Nature Reserve (Liziping NR), China. And whole-genome shotgun sequencing uncovered the differences in biological functions (KEGG and Carbohydrate-Active enzymes functions) of <i>A. spanostachya</i> phyllosphere bacteria between spring and autumn. The results showed that the abundance and diversity of <i>F. ferax</i> phyllosphere bacteria were greater than that of the other two bamboo species in both seasons. And three kinds of bamboo phyllosphere bacteria in autumn were significantly higher than in spring. The season was a more important factor than host bamboo species in determining the community structure of phyllosphere bacteria based on the (un)weighted UniFrac distance matrix. The composition, diversity, and community structure of phyllosphere bacteria in bamboo were primarily affected by the season, species, altitude, tree layer, and shrub layer. Different bacterial communities perform different functions in different bamboo species, and long-term low temperatures may shape more varied and complex KEGG and Carbohydrate-Active enzymes functions in spring. Our study presented a deeper understanding of factors influencing the bacterial community in the bamboo phyllosphere. These integrated results offer an original insight into bamboo, which can provide a reference for the restoration and management of giant panda bamboo food resources in the Xiaoxiangling mountains.
Project description:Taste 2 receptors (TAS2R) mediate bitterness perception in mammals, thus are called bitter taste receptors. It is believed that these genes evolved in response to species-specific diets. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and red panda (Ailurus fulgens styani) in the order Carnivora are specialized herbivores with an almost exclusive bamboo diet (>90% bamboo). Because bamboo is full of bitter tasting compounds, we hypothesized that adaptive evolution has occurred at TAS2R genes in giant and red pandas throughout the course of their dietary shift. Here, we characterized 195 TAS2R genes in 9 Carnivora species and examined selective pressures on these genes. We found that both pandas harbor more putative functional TAS2R genes than other carnivores, and pseudogenized TAS2R genes in the giant panda are different from the red panda. The purifying selection on TAS2R1, TAS2R9 and TAS2R38 in the giant panda, and TAS2R62 in the red panda, has been strengthened throughout the course of adaptation to bamboo diet, while selective constraint on TAS2R4 and TAS2R38 in the red panda is relaxed. Remarkably, a few positively selected sites on TAS2R42 have been specifically detected in the giant panda. These results suggest an adaptive response in both pandas to a dietary shift from carnivory to herbivory, and TAS2R genes evolved independently in the 2 pandas. Our findings provide new insight into the molecular basis of mammalian sensory evolution and the process of adaptation to new ecological niches.