Publications by authors named "Alex J La Reau"

4 Publications

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Assessing the relationship between the rumen microbiota and feed efficiency in Nellore steers.

J Anim Sci Biotechnol 2021 Jul 15;12(1):79. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, MG, 36570-900, Brazil.

Background: Ruminants rely upon a complex community of microbes in their rumen to convert host-indigestible feed into nutrients. However, little is known about the association between the rumen microbiota and feed efficiency traits in Nellore (Bos indicus) cattle, a breed of major economic importance to the global beef market. Here, we compare the composition of the bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in the rumen of Nellore steers with high and low feed efficiency (FE) phenotypes, as measured by residual feed intake (RFI).

Results: The Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in positive-RFI steers (p-RFI, low feed efficiency) than in negative-RFI (n-RFI, high feed efficiency) steers. The differences in bacterial composition from steers with high and low FE were mainly associated with members of the families Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcaceae and Christensenellaceae, as well as the genus Prevotella. Archaeal community richness was lower (P < 0.05) in p-RFI than in n-RFI steers and the genus Methanobrevibacter was either increased or exclusive of p-RFI steers. The fungal genus Buwchfawromyces was more abundant in the rumen solid fraction of n-RFI steers (P < 0.05) and a highly abundant OTU belonging to the genus Piromyces was also increased in the rumen microbiota of high-efficiency steers. However, analysis of rumen fermentation variables and functional predictions indicated similar metabolic outputs for the microbiota of distinct FE groups.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that differences in the ruminal microbiota of high and low FE Nellore steers comprise specific taxa from the bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities. Biomarker OTUs belonging to the genus Piromyces were identified in animals showing high feed efficiency, whereas among archaea, Methanobrevibacter was associated with steers classified as p-RFI. The identification of specific RFI-associated microorganisms in Nellore steers could guide further studies targeting the isolation and functional characterization of rumen microbes potentially important for the energy-harvesting efficiency of ruminants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40104-021-00599-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8281616PMC
July 2021

The Bacterial and Fungal Microbiota of Nelore Steers Is Dynamic Across the Gastrointestinal Tract and Its Fecal-Associated Microbiota Is Correlated to Feed Efficiency.

Front Microbiol 2019 25;10:1263. Epub 2019 Jun 25.

Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil.

The ruminant gastrointestinal tract (GIT) microbiome plays a major role in the health, physiology and production traits of the host. In this work, we characterized the bacterial and fungal microbiota of the rumen, small intestine (SI), cecum and feces of 27 Nelore steers using next-generation sequencing and evaluated biochemical parameters within the GIT segments. We found that only the bacterial microbiota clustered according to each GIT segment. Bacterial diversity and richness as well as volatile fatty acid concentration was lowest in the SI. Taxonomic grouping of bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) revealed that (24.61 ± SD 6.58%) and (20.87 ± SD 4.22%) were the two most abundant taxa across the GIT. For the fungi, the family dominated in all GIT segments, with the genus being the most abundant. Twenty-eight bacterial and six fungal OTUs were shared across all GIT segments in at least 50% of the steers. We also evaluated if the fecal-associated microbiota of steers showing negative and positive residual feed intake (n-RFI and p-RFI, respectively) was associated with their feed efficiency phenotype. Diversity indices for both bacterial and fungal fecal microbiota did not vary between the two feed efficiency groups. Differences in the fecal bacterial composition between high and low feed efficiency steers were primarily assigned to OTUs belonging to the families and and to the genus . The fungal OTUs shared across the GIT did not vary between feed efficiency groups, but 7 and 3 OTUs were found only in steers with positive and negative RFI, respectively. These results provide further insights into the composition of the Nelore GIT microbiota, which could have implications for improving animal health and productivity. Our findings also reveal differences in fecal-associated bacterial OTUs between steers from different feed efficiency groups, suggesting that fecal sampling may represent a non-invasive strategy to link the bovine microbiota with productivity phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603086PMC
June 2019

The Ruminococci: key symbionts of the gut ecosystem.

J Microbiol 2018 Mar 28;56(3):199-208. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.

Mammalian gut microbial communities form intricate mutualisms with their hosts, which have profound implications on overall health. One group of important gut microbial mutualists are bacteria in the genus Ruminococcus, which serve to degrade and convert complex polysaccharides into a variety of nutrients for their hosts. Isolated decades ago from the bovine rumen, ruminococci have since been cultured from other ruminant and non-ruminant sources, and next-generation sequencing has further shown their distribution to be widespread in a diversity of animal hosts. While most ruminococci that have been studied are those capable of degrading cellulose, much less is known about non-cellulolytic, nonruminant-associated species, such as those found in humans. Furthermore, a mechanistic understanding of the role of Ruminococcus spp. in their respective hosts is still a work in progress. This review highlights the broad work done on species within the genus Ruminococcus with respect to their physiology, phylogenetic relatedness, and their potential impact on host health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12275-018-8024-4DOI Listing
March 2018

Sequence-based analysis of the genus resolves its phylogeny and reveals strong host association.

Microb Genom 2016 12 12;2(12):e000099. Epub 2016 Dec 12.

1​Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

It has become increasingly clear that the composition of mammalian gut microbial communities is substantially diet driven. These microbiota form intricate mutualisms with their hosts, which have profound implications on overall health. For example, many gut microbes are involved in the conversion of host-ingested dietary polysaccharides into host-usable nutrients. One group of important gut microbial symbionts are bacteria in the genus . Originally isolated from the bovine rumen, ruminococci have been found in numerous mammalian hosts, including other ruminants, and non-ruminants such as horses, pigs and humans. All ruminococci require fermentable carbohydrates for growth, and their substrate preferences appear to be based on the diet of their particular host. Most ruminococci that have been studied are those capable of degrading cellulose, much less is known about non-cellulolytic non-ruminant-associated species, and even less is known about the environmental distribution of ruminococci as a whole. Here, we capitalized on the wealth of publicly available 16S rRNA gene sequences, genomes and large-scale microbiota studies to both resolve the phylogenetic placement of described species in the genus , and further demonstrate that this genus has largely unexplored diversity and a staggering host distribution. We present evidence that ruminococci are predominantly associated with herbivores and omnivores, and our data supports the hypothesis that very few ruminococci are found consistently in non-host-associated environments. This study not only helps to resolve the phylogeny of this important genus, but also provides a framework for understanding its distribution in natural systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mgen.0.000099DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359413PMC
December 2016
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