Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 101, Issue 14, pp 5903–5911 | Cite as

Evaluating the association between body weight and the intestinal microbiota of weaned piglets via 16S rRNA sequencing

  • Geon Goo Han
  • Jun-Yeong Lee
  • Gwi-Deuk Jin
  • Jongbin Park
  • Yo Han Choi
  • Byung Jo Chae
  • Eun Bae KimEmail author
  • Yun-Jaie ChoiEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


Due to the ban on the use of antimicrobial growth promoters in livestock feeds, understanding the relationship between intestinal microbiota and the physiology of the host has become very important for improving livestock performance. In this study, we investigated the relationship between intestinal microbiota and body weights of weaned piglets. Lighter (n = 9) and heavier (n = 9) 9-week-old weaned piglets were selected from approximately one hundred individuals based on their body weights. Their fecal microbial communities were analyzed by sequencing the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. The microbial richness estimators of the heavier piglets were significantly higher than those of the lighter piglets. At the phylum level, the microbiota of the heavier group had significantly higher levels of Firmicutes and a higher Firmicutes-to-Bacteroidetes ratio than that of the lighter group. At the genus level, the levels of several genera, such as Anaerococcus and Lactococcus, were significantly different in the two groups. In particular, the lighter group had significantly higher levels of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria, such as Anaerotruncus and Bacteroides, compared with those of the heavier group. Moreover, the levels of bacteria expressing the components of several metabolic pathways were significantly different in the two groups. The microbiota of the heavier group had a significantly higher involvement in three KEGG pathways concerned with xenobiotic degradation than that of the lighter group. These results may provide insights into host-microbe interactions occurring in the piglet intestine and will be useful in establishing a strategy for improving growth performance in the swine industry.


Fecal microbiota Metagenome Weaned piglet Body weight 16S rRNA gene High-throughput sequencing 


Compliance with ethical standards

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Kangwon National University approved animal experiments under no. KW-140509-1.


This study was supported by the Strategic Initiative for Microbiomes in Agriculture and Food, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Republic of Korea (grant number 914005-04). Geon Goo Han, Jun-Yeong Lee, Gwi-Deuk Jin, Jongbin Park, and Yo Han Choi were supported by the BK21 Plus program. This study was supported by 2016 Research Grant from the Kangwon National University (No. 520160476). We acknowledge the financial support provided by Natural F&P Company Limited, Republic of Korea.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geon Goo Han
    • 1
  • Jun-Yeong Lee
    • 1
  • Gwi-Deuk Jin
    • 2
  • Jongbin Park
    • 2
  • Yo Han Choi
    • 2
  • Byung Jo Chae
    • 2
  • Eun Bae Kim
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Yun-Jaie Choi
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural BiotechnologySeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Animal Life ScienceKangwon National UniversityChuncheonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Division of Applied Animal ScienceKangwon National UniversityChuncheonRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Research Institute for Agriculture and Life ScienceSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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