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Archaea. 2012;2012:605289. doi: 10.1155/2012/605289. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Lean breed Landrace pigs harbor fecal methanogens at higher diversity and density than obese breed Erhualian pigs.

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Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China.


The diversity of fecal methanogens of Erhualian (obese type) and Landrace (lean type) pigs was examined using separate 16S rRNA gene libraries for each breed. A total of 763 clones were analyzed; 381 from the Erhualian library and 382 from the Landrace library were identified belonging to the genus Methanobrevibacter. Others were identified belonging to the genus Methanosphaera. The two libraries showed significant differences in diversity (P < 0.05) and composition (P < 0.0001). Only two operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were found in both libraries, whereas six OTUs were found only in the Erhualian library and 23 OTUs were found only in the Landrace library. Real-time PCR showed that the abundance of fecal methanogens in Landrace pigs was significantly higher than that in Erhualian pigs (P < 0.05). Results showed that the Landrace pig (lean) harbored a greater diversity and higher numbers of methanogen mcrA gene copies than the Erhualian pig (obese). These differences may be related to the fatness or leanness in these two pig breeds. The results provide new leads for further investigations on the fat storage of pigs or even humans.

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