Amino Acids

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 1201–1215 | Cite as

Utilization of amino acids by bacteria from the pig small intestine

  • Zhao-Lai Dai
  • Jing Zhang
  • Guoyao Wu
  • Wei-Yun Zhu
Original Article


This study determined the utilization of amino acids (AA) by bacteria from the lumen of the pig small intestine. Digesta samples from different segments of the small intestine were inoculated into media containing 10 mmol/L each of select AA (l-lysine, l-threonine, l-arginine, l-glutamate, l-histidine, l-leucine, l-isoleucine, l-valine, l-proline, l-methionine, l-phenylalanine or l-tryptophan) and incubated for 24 h. The previous 24-h culture served as an inoculum for a subsequent 24-h subculture during each of 30 subcultures. Results of the in vitro cultivation experiment indicated that the 24-h disappearance rates for lysine, arginine, threonine, glutamate, leucine, isoleucine, valine or histidine were 50–90% in the duodenum, jejunum or ileum groups. After 30 subcultures, the 24-h disappearance rates for lysine, threonine, arginine or glutamate remained greater than 50%. The denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis showed that Streptococcus sp., Mitsuokella sp., and Megasphaera elsdenii-like bacteria were predominant in subcultures for utilizing lysine, threonine, arginine and glutamate. In contrast, Klebsiella sp. was not a major user of arginine or glutamate. Furthermore, analysis of AA composition and the incorporation of AA into polypeptides indicated that protein synthesis was a major pathway for AA metabolism in all the bacteria studied. The current work identified the possible predominant bacterial species responsible for AA metabolism in the pig small intestine. The findings provide a new framework for future studies to characterize the metabolic fate of AA in intestinal microbes and define their nutritional significance for both animals and humans.


Pig Small intestine Metabolism Bacterial community 



Amino acids


Branched-chain amino acids


Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis


Polymerase chain reaction


Portal-drained viscera



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (30810103909), the National Basic Research Program of China (2004CB117500-4), and Texas AgriLife Research Hatch Project (H-8200).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhao-Lai Dai
    • 1
  • Jing Zhang
    • 1
  • Guoyao Wu
    • 2
  • Wei-Yun Zhu
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Gastrointestinal MicrobiologyNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Animal ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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