Longitudinal investigation of the age-related bacterial diversity in the feces of commercial pigs

Kim HB, Borewicz K, White BA, Singer RS, Sreevatsan S, Tu ZJ, Isaacson RE

The importance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals is widely acknowledged as important. However, very little is known about composition and distribution of the microbial population in lower intestinal tracts of animals. Because most bacterial species in pig intestines have not been cultured, it has been difficult to analyze bacterial diversity by conventional culture methods. Even with the development of culture independent 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the previous methods were slow and labor intensive. Therefore, high throughput pyrosequencing of 16S rDNA libraries was used in this study in order to explore the bacterial diversity of the pig feces. In our two trials, fecal samples from individual pigs were collected five times at 3-week intervals, and the 16S rRNA genes in the community DNAs from fecal samples were sequenced and analyzed. This longitudinal study design identified that microbial populations in the feces of the each pig continued to change as pigs aged. The variations of bacterial diversity of the animals were affected by less abundant bacterial components of the feces. These results help us to understand the age-related bacterial diversity in the commercial pig feces.

Veterinary Microbiology 153:124-33