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Animal Science

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Frontiers in microbiology








The impact of a long-term subacute rumen acidosis (SARA) on the bovine epimural bacterial microbiome (BEBM) and its consequences for rumen health is poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate shifts in the BEBM during a long-term transient SARA model consisting of two concentrate-diet-induced SARA challenges separated by a 1-week challenge break. Eight cows were fed forage and varying concentrate amounts throughout the experiment. In total, 32 rumen papilla biopsies were taken for DNA isolation (4 sampling time points per cow: at the baseline before concentrate was fed, after the first SARA challenge, after the challenge break, and after the second SARA challenge). Ruminal pH was continuously monitored. The microbiome was determined using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene (V345 region). In total 1,215,618 sequences were obtained and clustered into 6833 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Campylobacter and Kingella were the most abundant OTUs (16.5 and 7.1%). According to ruminal pH dynamics, the second challenge was more severe than the first challenge. Species diversity estimates and evenness increased during the challenge break compared to all other sampling time points (P < 0.05). During both SARA challenges, Kingella- and Azoarcus-OTUs decreased (0.5 and 0.4 fold-change) and a dominant Ruminobacter-OTU increased during the challenge break (18.9 fold-change; P < 0.05). qPCR confirmed SARA-related shifts. During the challenge break noticeably more OTUs increased compared to other sampling time points. Our results show that the BEBM re-establishes the baseline conditions slower after a SARA challenge than ruminal pH. Key phylotypes that were reduced during both challenges may help to establish a bacterial fingerprint to facilitate understanding effects of SARA conditions on the BEBM and their consequences for the ruminant host.


This article is published as Wetzels, Stefanie U., Evelyne Mann, Barbara U. Metzler-Zebeli, Poulad Pourazad, Muhammad Qumar, Fenja Klevenhusen, Beate Pinior, Martin Wagner, Qendrim Zebeli, and Stephan Schmitz-Esser. "Epimural indicator phylotypes of transiently-induced subacute ruminal acidosis in dairy cattle." Frontiers in microbiology 7 (2016). 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00274. Posted with permission.

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