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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Apr;78(7):2386-92. doi: 10.1128/AEM.07545-11. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Correlation between composition of the bacterial community and concentration of volatile fatty acids in the rumen during the transition period and ketosis in dairy cows.

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College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China.


The transition period is a severe challenge to dairy cows. Glucose supply cannot meet demand and body fat is mobilized, potentially leading to negative energy balance (NEB), ketosis, or fatty liver. Propionate produces glucose by gluconeogenesis, which depends heavily on the number and species of microbes. In the present study, we analyzed the rumen microbiome composition of cows in the transition period, cows with ketosis, and nonperinatal cows by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) analysis of 16S rRNA genes and quantitative PCR. TRFLP analysis indicated that the quantity of Veillonellaceae organisms was reduced and that of Streptococcaceae organisms was increased in rumen samples from the transition period and ketosis groups, with the number of Lactobacillaceae organisms increased after calving. Quantitative PCR data suggested that the numbers of the main propionate-producing microbes, Megasphaera elsdenii and Selenomonas ruminantium, were decreased, while numbers of the main lactate-producing bacterium, Streptococcus bovis, were increased in the rumen of cows from the transition period and ketosis groups, with the number of Lactobacillus sp. organisms increased after calving. Volatile fatty acid (VFA) and glucose concentrations were decreased, but the lactic acid concentration was increased, in rumen samples from the transition period and ketosis groups. Our results indicate that the VFA concentration is significantly related to the numbers of Selenomonas ruminantium and Megasphaera elsdenii organisms in the rumen.

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