Campus Units

Animal Science, Genetics, Development and Cell Biology

Document Type


Publication Version

Submitted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Research Square




Background: The impact of extreme changes in weather patterns in the economy and humanity welfare are some of the biggest challenges that our civilization is facing. From the anthropogenic activities that contribute to climate change, reducing the impact of farming activities is a priority, since its responsible for up to 18% of greenhouse gases linked to such activities. To this end, we tested if the ruminal and fecal microbiomes components of 52 Brazilian Nelore bulls, belonging to two experimental groups based on the feed intervention, conventional (A) and byproducts based diet (B), could be used as biomarkers for methane (CH4) emission.

Results: We identified a total of 5,693 Amplicon Sequence Variants (ASVs) in the Nelore bulls microbiomes from the experimental group B. Statistical analysis showed that the microbiome populations were significantly different among treatment groups. Differential abundance (DA) analysis with the ANCOM approach identified 30 bacterial and 15 archaea ASVs as DA among treatment groups. Random forest models, using either bacteria or archaea ASVs as predictors, were able to predict the treatment group with high accuracy (r2>0.85). Association analysis using Mixed Linear Models indicate that bacterial and archaea ASVs are linked to the CH4 emission phenotype, of which the most prominent were the ruminal ASV 40 and fecal ASV 35. These ASVs contributed to a 9.7% increase and 7.3% decrease of the variation in CH4 emission, respectively, which indicated their potential as targets for feed interventions and/or biomarkers.

Conclusion: The feed composition induced significant differences in abundance and richness of ruminal and fecal microbial populations. The dietary treatment based on industrial byproducts applied had an impact on the microbiome diversity of bacteria and archaea, but not on protozoa. Microbiome components (ASVs) of bacteria and archaea can be successfully used to predict the treatment group, thus giving support to the hypothesis that the feed intervention modulate microbiome abundance and diversity. Microbiome components were associated with CH4 emission in both microbiomes. Therefore, both ruminal and fecal ASVs can be used as biomarkers for methane production and emission.


This preprint is made available through Research Square, doi: 10.21203/

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright Owner

The Authors



File Format