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Animal. 2007 Aug;1(7):939-44. doi: 10.1017/S1751731107000304.

PCR-DGGE analysis reveals a distinct diversity in the bacterial population attached to the rumen epithelium.

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1INRA, UR1213 Herbivores, Site de Theix, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.


Bacteria attached to the rumen epithelium (or epimural community) are not well characterised and their role in rumen functioning is not totally understood. There is just one published report of a clone library from one cow that suggests that this epimural community differs from the bacteria associated with the rumen digestive contents. However, this time-consuming approach is not adapted for examining microbial population changes in groups of animals. In in vivo studies, when samples from several animals have to be analysed simultaneously, a simpler technique has to be used. In this study, a genetic fingerprinting technique, polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE), was used to characterise the structure of the bacterial population attached to the rumen epithelium. This community was compared with that present in the solid and liquid phases of rumen content under two contrasting diets. Rumen samples were obtained from four forage-fed and four high-concentrate-fed (80 : 20, wheat grain : hay) 5-month-old lambs. After slaughter, samples from five epithelial sites and the solid and liquid digesta phases were taken for DNA extraction and analysis. Bacterial communities were profiled by PCR-DGGE using bacterial-specific 16S rDNA primers. Analysis of the fingerprint revealed that the epithelial community differed from those of rumen content in both diets. As expected, the nature of the feed influenced the bacterial communities from the solid and liquid rumen phases but no diet effect was observed in the rumen epithelial profiles suggesting a strong host effect on this bacterial population. Additionally, no differences were observed among the five epithelial sampling sites taken from each animal. The profile of the bacterial population attached to the rumen epithelium presented a high inter-animal variation, whether this difference has an influence in the function of this community remains to be determined.


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