Annals of Microbiology

, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 185–194 | Cite as

The significance of the diversity and composition of the cecal microbiota of the Tibetan swine

  • Weiping Yang
  • Haiyun Xin
  • Fangjun Cao
  • Jinxing Hou
  • Li Ma
  • Lijuan Bao
  • Fangyuan Wang
  • Zhantao Yu
  • Binyun Cao
Original Article


The Tibetan swine (TIS) is a non-ruminant herbivore with high disease resistance. Also, it has the ability to digest plants with high fiber content. However, it is not known whether any relationship exist between these characteristics of the TIS and its cecal microbiota. Thus, this study aims to investigate the cecal microbiota of the adult TIS using high-throughput sequencing techniques in order to explore possible relationships between these unique characteristics of the TIS (high disease resistance and ability to digest high fiber plants) and its cecal microbiota. PIC pigs (lean type) were chosen as controls. The results show that 75,069 valid sequences of the 16S rRNA gene at V4-V5 region were obtained in the cecal content of TIS. They were composed of 15 phyla, 70 genera and divided into 660 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs). Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes were the predominant phyla in both breeds, but TIS had more Bacteroidetes than Firmicutes. Also, 42.4% of the cecal bacteria were found to be unclassified and uncultured. Many cellulolytic bacteria were also found in the two breeds. TIS (88.10%) had much higher abundance in the core bacterial communities than PIC pigs (81.29%), and the proportion of Bacteroides and Spirochaetes that can effectively degrade cellulose were 6.01 and 6.40% higher than PIC pigs, respectively, while Proteobacteria that are closely related to gastrointestinal diseases were 1.61% lower than PIC pigs. Thus, the disease resistance of the TIS and its ability to digest plants with high fiber content may be related to high abundance of core bacterial communities as well as the large number of unknown and unclassified bacteria.


Cecal microbiota 16S rRNA gene High-throughput sequencing Tibetan swine Disease resistance Herbivorous characteristics 



We thank Hongzhou Wang (Tibetan swine Slaughterhouse of Shaanxi Huayi Industrial Co., Ltd.) and Junfang Yan (Shaanxi Benxiang Pig Slaughterhouse) for their help in sampling. We are also grateful to Juan Qin (Shanghai Majorbio Bio-Pharm Technology Co., Ltd.) for technical help.


This study was sponsored by grants from the Key Agricultural Science and Technology Promotion Project in Shaanxi province, China (ZDKJ-2014-27) and the Annual National Undergraduate Innovative Entrepreneurial Training Program of China (201410712008), and Science and Technology Plan Project in Henan Province (162102310475).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None declare

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 15.6 kb)
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ESM 2 (DOCX 18.6 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and the University of Milan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weiping Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Haiyun Xin
    • 1
    • 3
  • Fangjun Cao
    • 1
  • Jinxing Hou
    • 4
  • Li Ma
    • 1
  • Lijuan Bao
    • 1
  • Fangyuan Wang
    • 1
  • Zhantao Yu
    • 1
  • Binyun Cao
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Animal Science and TechnologyNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Life sciences collegeLuoyang Normal UniversityLuoyangPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute of Animal ScienceGuangdong Academy of Agricultural SciencesGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Animal Engineering BranchYangling Vocational & Technical CollegeYanglingPeople’s Republic of China

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