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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 23;8(4):e61463. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061463. Print 2013.

Shedding light on the microbial community of the macropod foregut using 454-amplicon pyrosequencing.

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Rumen Ecology Unit, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Queensland, Dutton Park, Queensland, Australia.


Twenty macropods from five locations in Queensland, Australia, grazing on a variety of native pastures were surveyed and the bacterial community of the foregut was examined using 454-amplicon pyrosequencing. Specifically, the V3/V4 region of 16S rRNA gene was examined. A total of 5040 OTUs were identified in the data set (post filtering). Thirty-two OTUs were identified as 'shared' OTUS (i.e. present in all samples) belonging to either Firmicutes or Bacteroidetes (Clostridiales/Bacteroidales). These phyla predominated the general microbial community in all macropods. Genera represented within the shared OTUs included: unclassified Ruminococcaceae, unclassified Lachnospiraceae, unclassified Clostridiales, Peptococcus sp. Coprococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., Blautia sp., Ruminoccocus sp., Eubacterium sp., Dorea sp., Oscillospira sp. and Butyrivibrio sp. The composition of the bacterial community of the foregut samples of each the host species (Macropus rufus, Macropus giganteus and Macropus robustus) was significantly different allowing differentiation between the host species based on alpha and beta diversity measures. Specifically, eleven dominant OTUs that separated the three host species were identified and classified as: unclassified Ruminococcaceae, unclassified Bacteroidales, Prevotella spp. and a Syntrophococcus sucromutans. Putative reductive acetogens and fibrolytic bacteria were also identified in samples. Future work will investigate the presence and role of fibrolytics and acetogens in these ecosystems. Ideally, the isolation and characterization of these organisms will be used for enhanced feed efficiency in cattle, methane mitigation and potentially for other industries such as the biofuel industry.

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