Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #312337

Title: Characterizing the microbiome across the gastrointestinal tract from steers differing in feed efficiency

item Myer, Phillip
item Wells, James - Jim
item Smith, Timothy - Tim
item Kuehn, Larry
item Freetly, Harvey

Submitted to: Plant and Animal Genome Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/3/2014
Publication Date: 12/4/2014
Citation: Myer, P.R., Wells, J., Smith, T.P., Kuehn, L.A., Freetly, H.C. 2015. Characterizing the microbiome across the gastrointestinal tract from steers differing in feed efficiency. Plant and Animal Genome XXIII Conference, January 10-14, 2015, San Diego, California. Abstract No. W288.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The bovine rumen and lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) contain diverse microbial ecosystems that are essential for the host to digest plant material and regulate nutrient uptake and utilization. In cattle, optimization of feed efficiency has primarily focused host genetics, management, and diet. However, the microbial communities throughout the GIT are regarded as essential in structure, function, and overall health of the host, necessitating the comprehensive evaluation of microbial-associated interactions with host feed efficiency throughout the GIT. We examined the microbial communities within the rumen and locations throughout the lower GIT from steers differing in feed efficiency. Within two contemporary groups of steers, individual feed intake (FI) and body weight (BW) gain were determined. Within contemporary group, BW was regressed on FI and the four most extreme steers within each quadrant were sampled. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons were sequenced from the GIT content using next-generation sequencing technology. Although no differences were detected by bacterial diversity and richness metrics, changes in the relative abundances of microbial populations and operational taxonomic units did reveal differences between feed efficiency groups. These studies suggest the GIT microbiome differs at the 16S level in cattle that vary in feed efficiency. It is not clear whether changes in the microbiome are contributing to differences in feed efficiency or host factors are driving changes in the microbiome. Partially funded by National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant 2011-68004-30214 National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle.