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Comparative study of the bacterial communities throughout the gastrointestinal tract in two beef cattle breeds

  • Applied microbial and cell physiology
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Investigation of the compositional and functional characteristics of the gastrointestinal bacterial community in beef cattle breeds can improve our understanding of the influence of gastrointestinal tract (GIT) regions and host breeds on the bacterial community. In this study, 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene amplicon sequencing was used to characterize the bacterial communities in the rumen, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, caecum, and colon of Xuanhan yellow cattle (XHC) and Simmental crossbred cattle (SXC). The results showed that the diversity of the bacterial population was different in GIT regions of XHC and SXC (P < 0.05). In total, ten bacterial phyla, sixteen bacterial genera, and nine metabolic pathways were identified in the core bacteria. The phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria were predominant, but their proportions were different in GIT regions (P < 0.05). The diversity, structure, and composition of the bacteria in the rumen were similar between the breeds (P > 0.05), and the indices in the intestine showed significant differences (P < 0.05). Moreover, the composition and structure of the bacterial communities in the rumen, small intestine, and large intestine were different regardless of the breed. Thus, the bacterial communities were different among the gastrointestinal regions in each breed, and the bacterial community in the rumen had more stable characteristics than that in the intestine between two breeds. Further studies may focus on the minor microbial communities and the functions of GIT bacteria to better understand gut–microbe interactions.

Key points

Differences in bacteria among gastrointestinal regions differ in cattle breeds.

Differences between the breeds in the ruminal bacteria are less pronounced than differences in the intestinal bacteria.

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This work was supported by grants from Sichuan Science and Technology Program (2018NZ0002), National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0502005), and China Agriculture (Beef Cattle/Yak) Research System (CARS-37;

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YZ and ZW conceived and designed research. XZ, HZ, QP, BX, and LW participated in the discussion of the research. YZ, XW, and FL conducted experiments. YZ analyzed the data. YZ wrote the manuscript. RH revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Zhisheng Wang.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

All experimental procedures were performed according to the Animal Care and Use Committee of Sichuan Agricultural University (approval number: SYXKchuan 2014-187).

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Zhu, Y., Wang, Z., Hu, R. et al. Comparative study of the bacterial communities throughout the gastrointestinal tract in two beef cattle breeds. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 105, 313–325 (2021).

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