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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Oct;76(19):6338-50. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01052-10. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

Correlation of particular bacterial PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis patterns with bovine ruminal fermentation parameters and feed efficiency traits.

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Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.


The influence of rumen microbial structure and functions on host physiology remains poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the interaction between the ruminal microflora and the host by correlating bacterial diversity with fermentation measurements and feed efficiency traits, including dry matter intake, feed conversion ratio, average daily gain, and residual feed intake, using culture-independent methods. Universal bacterial partial 16S rRNA gene products were amplified from ruminal fluid collected from 58 steers raised under a low-energy diet and were subjected to PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis. Multivariate statistical analysis was used to relate specific PCR-DGGE bands to various feed efficiency traits and metabolites. Analysis of volatile fatty acid profiles showed that butyrate was positively correlated with daily dry matter intake (P < 0.05) and tended to have higher concentration in inefficient animals (P = 0.10), while isovalerate was associated with residual feed intake (P < 0.05). Our results suggest that particular bacteria and their metabolism in the rumen may contribute to differences in host feed efficiency under a low-energy diet. This is the first study correlating PCR-DGGE bands representing specific bacteria to metabolites in the bovine rumen and to host feed efficiency traits.

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