Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2015 Apr 23;10(4):e0123933. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123933. eCollection 2015.

Integrated community profiling indicates long-term temporal stability of the predominant faecal microbiota in captive cheetahs.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Department of Nutrition, Genetics and Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.
2
Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Department of Nutrition, Genetics and Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.
3
BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
4
Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Abstract

Understanding the symbiotic relationship between gut microbes and their animal host requires characterization of the core microbiota across populations and in time. Especially in captive populations of endangered wildlife species such as the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), this knowledge is a key element to enhance feeding strategies and reduce gastrointestinal disorders. In order to investigate the temporal stability of the intestinal microbiota in cheetahs under human care, we conducted a longitudinal study over a 3-year period with bimonthly faecal sampling of 5 cheetahs housed in two European zoos. For this purpose, an integrated 16S rRNA DGGE-clone library approach was used in combination with a series of real-time PCR assays. Our findings disclosed a stable faecal microbiota, beyond intestinal community variations that were detected between zoo sample sets or between animals. The core of this microbiota was dominated by members of Clostridium clusters I, XI and XIVa, with mean concentrations ranging from 7.5-9.2 log10 CFU/g faeces and with significant positive correlations between these clusters (P<0.05), and by Lactobacillaceae. Moving window analysis of DGGE profiles revealed 23.3-25.6% change between consecutive samples for four of the cheetahs. The fifth animal in the study suffered from intermediate episodes of vomiting and diarrhea during the monitoring period and exhibited remarkably more change (39.4%). This observation may reflect the temporary impact of perturbations such as the animal's compromised health, antibiotic administration or a combination thereof, which temporarily altered the relative proportions of Clostridium clusters I and XIVa. In conclusion, this first long-term monitoring study of the faecal microbiota in feline strict carnivores not only reveals a remarkable compositional stability of this ecosystem, but also shows a qualitative and quantitative similarity in a defined set of faecal bacterial lineages across the five animals under study that may typify the core phylogenetic microbiome of cheetahs.

PMID:
25905625
PMCID:
PMC4408007
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0123933
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center