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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Feb;85(6):1947-52. doi: 10.1007/s00253-009-2229-8. Epub 2009 Sep 26.

Effect of dietary monensin on the bacterial population structure of dairy cattle colonic contents.

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Plant Mycotoxin Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA.


To determine the effect of monensin, a carboxylic polyether ionophore antibiotic, on the bacterial population structure of dairy cattle colonic contents, we fed six lactating Holstein cows a diet containing monensin (600 mg day(-1)) or an identical diet without monensin. Fresh waste samples were taken directly from the animals once a month for 3 months and assayed for their bacterial population structure via 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. In total 6,912 16S rRNA genes were examined, comprising 345 and 315 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from the monensin fed and control animals, respectively. Coverage estimates of the OTUs identified were 87.6% for the monensin fed and 88.3% for the control colonic content derived library. Despite this high level of coverage, no significant difference was found between the libraries down to the genus level. Thus we concluded that although monensin is believed to increase milk production in dairy cattle by altering the bacterial population structure within the bovine gastrointestinal tract, we were unable to identify any significant difference in the bacterial population structure of the colonic contents of monensin fed vs. the control dairy cattle, down to the genus level.

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