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Poult Sci. 2003 Aug;82(8):1242-9.

Composition of microbiota in content and mucus from cecae of broiler chickens as measured by fluorescent in situ hybridization with group-specific, 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes.

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Environmental Science and Technology Center, Gas Technology Institute, 1700 South Mount Prospect Road, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-1804, USA.


Six group-specific 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes were used to investigate the composition of the microbiota of cecal content and mucus from broiler chickens. Together, the probes hybridized to as many as 94.7% of the bacteria detectable with the universal probe Bact338 in the content of the cecum of 2-d-old chicks. Fewer bacteria gave signals with these probes as the birds aged, and coverage was as low as 76% for the bacteria in cecal content of a 6-wk-old chicken. In the cecal content of 2-d-old chicks, approximately 56, 34, and 3% of the bacteria detectable with the universal probe reacted with the probes Enter1432 (enterics), Lacto722 (Lactobacillus/Streptococcus/Enterococcus), and Bif164 (bifidobacteria), respectively. Probes Clept1240 (Clostridium leptum subgroup), Erec482 (Clostridium coccoides-Eubacterium rectale), and Bacto1080 (Bacteroides groups) did not produce signals. In cecal content from 1-wk-old chicks, all six probes gave signals, and in samples from 6-wk-old birds approximately 3, 9, 6, 32, 22, and 8% of the bacteria detectable with the universal probe hybridized with the probes Enter1432, Lacto722, Bif164, Clept1240, Erec482, and Bacto1080, respectively. At this age, the six probes detected the phylogenetic groups in similar proportions in the microbiota of cecal content and cecal mucus. The exception was the enterics probe because more bacteria from the mucus fraction than from cecal content gave signals with this probe (13.4 vs. 4.4%, P<0.001).

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