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Microb Ecol. 2008 Aug;56(2):322-31. doi: 10.1007/s00248-007-9349-4. Epub 2008 Jan 8.

Comparison of the cecal microbiota of domestic and wild turkeys.

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National Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, Ames, IA, 50010, USA.


The extent to which production methods alter intestinal microbial communities of livestock is currently unknown. As the intestinal microbiota may affect animal health, nutrition, and food safety, a baseline comparison of the cecal communities of domestic and wild turkeys was performed. Oligonucleotide fingerprinting of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes (OFRG) of 2,990 16S rRNA clones and dot blot quantification of dominant populations were used to identify the dominant bacterial taxa. Seventy-three percent of all the clones belonged to as yet uncultured genera. However, at a higher phylogenetic level, the OFRG library was composed of 54% Bacteroidetes clones (52% of the domestic library clones, 56% of the wild library clones), 30% Firmicutes clones (33% of the domestic library clones, 32% of the wild library clones), 3% Proteobacteria clones (5% domestic, 2% wild), and 3% Deferribacteres clones (4% domestic, 1% wild). Seven percent of the clones were unidentifiable (6% domestic, 9% wild). Bacteroidetes clones included the genera Alistipes, Prevotella, Megamonas, and Bacteroides. Of the Clostridiales clones, groups IV, IX, and XIV including genera Faecalibacterium, Megasphaera, Phascolarctobacterium, and Papillibacter were predominant. Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, and Streptococcus bacilli were also identified. beta- delta- and gamma-proteobacterial genera included Acinetobacter, Sutterella, and Escherichia. Deferribacteres clones showed high similarity to Mucispirillum schaedleri. Statistical comparison of the domestic and wild turkey clone libraries indicated similar levels of community richness and evenness despite the fact that the two libraries shared only 30% of the total clone operational taxonomic units. Together these results indicate that although high level taxonomic community structure is similar, high-density turkey production causes considerable divergence of the genera found in the ceca of commercial birds from those of their wild counterparts.

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