2014 Volume 60 Issue 4 Pages 140-146
The high level of genetic diversity in the microflora of the gastrointestinal tract has the potential to provide numerous beneficial functions to the host. Thus it is now acknowledged that the complexity in animal functioning is linked to the interacting microbiome in the gut. Despite the importance of gut microbiome, there is a lack of information concerning the microbial communities in the pig gut during the weaning transition. This study describes the fecal microbial shifts of healthy piglets during the weaning transition using barcoded pyrosequencing of the prokaryotic 16S rRNA gene. Fecal samples were obtained from 15 piglets during the pre-weaning period (fourth week after birth) and post-weaning (sixth week after birth) and were subjected to community genomic DNA extraction for pyrosequencing analysis. As the piglets underwent the weaning transition a trend toward increased bacterial diversity was observed, based on species abundance as measured by the Shannon-Weaver index. Firmicutes (54.0%) and Bacteroidetes (59.6%) were the most dominant phyla during pre-weaning and post-weaning, respectively. During the weaning transition a distinct shift from Bacteroides to Prevotella as the most abundant genus was observed. Additionally, we detected a number of abundant gut bacterial species that have not been reported previously. Clostridium rectum, C. clostridioforme, C. lactatifermentans and Butyricimonas virosa were uniquely detected prior to weaning while Roseburia cecicola and Blautia wexlerae were detected during the post-weaning period only.