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Fecal Bacterial Composition of Sichuan Snub-Nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana)

Abstract

The intestinal microbiota plays an important role in maintaining the health of its host, including human and nonhuman primates. Little is known about the intestinal bacterial composition of the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana), which has been classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List since 2003. We evaluated the fecal bacterial compositions of 11 Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys, including six young captive individuals (one sample from each), three adult captive individuals (four samples each), and two adult provisioned free-ranging individuals (four samples each). We also quantified fecal Bacteroides vulgatus, Bifidobacterium spp., and Lactobacillus spp., which are defined as probiotics in humans, using real-time polymerase chain reaction. We identified five major phyla in the collected samples, including Firmicutes (32.4 %), Bacteroidetes (14.7 %), Verrucomicrobia (8.8 %), Actinobacteria (4.4 %), and unclassified microbacteria (39.7 %). Fecal bacteria composition varied with age and different seasons. The fecal bacterial composition of the captive monkeys was less variable than that of provisioned free-ranging monkeys. B. vulgatus amounts were almost 100 times higher in the provisioned free-ranging monkeys (1012) than in the captive monkeys (1010). Our results provide an initial catalogue of gut microbiota in the Sichuan snub-nosed monkey, which helps to enrich our knowledge of gut microbiota in nonhuman primates.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China (Nos. GK200902030, GK201402023). The authors appreciate the great help of Dr. Joanna M. Setchell, the chief editor of International Journal of Primatology, and the reviewers for helpful suggestions and comments. The authors are also grateful to Professor Xinqing Zhao in the School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Professor Jian Liang and Professor Huanjie Shao in the College of Life Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University for advice on academic writing.

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Correspondence to Yan Sun or Zhi Li.

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Handling Editor: Joanna M. Setchell

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Su, C., Zuo, R., Liu, W. et al. Fecal Bacterial Composition of Sichuan Snub-Nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellana). Int J Primatol 37, 518–533 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-016-9918-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-016-9918-9

Keywords

  • Captive
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Gut bacteria
  • Provisioning
  • Sichuan snub-nosed monkey