Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 225–235 | Cite as

Characterisation of the bacterial community in the gastrointestinal tracts of elk (Cervus canadensis)

  • Jong-Hui Kim
  • Sung Wook Hong
  • Beom-Young Park
  • Jae Gyu Yoo
  • Mi-Hwa OhEmail author
Original Paper


The resident bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and the behaviour of these microbes have been poorly characterised in elk as compared to other ruminant animal species such as sheep and cattle. In addition, most microbial community studies of deer gut have focused on rumen or faeces, while other parts of the GIT such as the small and large intestine have received little attention. To address this issue, the present study investigated the diversity of the GIT bacterial community in elk (Cervus canadensis) by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing analysis. Eight distinct GIT segments including the stomach (rumen, omasum, and abomasum), small intestine (duodenum and jejunum), and large intestine (cecum, colon, and rectum) obtained from four elks were examined. We found that bacterial richness and diversity were higher in the stomach and large intestine than in the small intestine (P < 0.05). A total of 733 genera belonging to 26 phyla were distributed throughout elk GITs, with Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria identified as the predominant phyla. In addition, there was spatial heterogeneity in the composition, diversity, and species abundance of microbiota in the GIT (P < 0.0001). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to characterise bacterial communities from eight GIT regions of elk by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing.


Gastrointestinal tract Elk (Cervus canadensis16S rRNA pyrosequencing Bacterial community 



This work was supported by the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ01199301) and the Postdoctoral Course Program of National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration (Korea).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The use and care of the animals used in this study were approved by the Animal Care and Experimentation Committee of the National Institute of Animal Science.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10482_2018_1150_MOESM1_ESM.docx (34 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Animal ScienceRural Development AdministrationWanju-gunKorea
  2. 2.World Institute of KimchiGwangjuKorea

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