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Investigation into the effect of divergent feed efficiency phenotype on the bovine rumen microbiota across diet and breed

McGovern, E., McGee, M., Byrne, C.J., Kenny, D.A., Kelly, A.K. and Waters, S.M. (2020) Investigation into the effect of divergent feed efficiency phenotype on the bovine rumen microbiota across diet and breed. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). Art. 15317.

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The relationship between rumen microbiota and host feed efficiency phenotype, for genetically divergent beef cattle breeds is unclear. This is further exacerbated when different growth stages, chemically diverse diets and production systems are considered. Residual feed intake (RFI), a measure of feed efficiency, was calculated for individually fed Charolais (CH) and Holstein–Friesian (HF) steers during each of four 70-day (excluding adaptation) successive dietary phases: namely, high-concentrate, grass silage, fresh zero-grazed grass and high-concentrate again. Rumen fluid from the ten highest- (HRFI) and ten lowest-ranking (LRFI) animals for RFI, within breed, during each dietary phase was collected using a trans-oesophageal sampler and subjected to 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and metabolic profiling. The datasets were analysed to identify microbial and rumen fermentation markers associated with RFI status. Age, dietary phase and breed were included in the statistical model. Within breed, for each dietary phase, mid-test metabolic weight and average daily gain did not differ (P > 0.05) between HRFI and LRFI steers; however, for the initial high-concentrate, grass silage, fresh grass herbage and final high-concentrate dietary phases, HRFI HF steers consumed 19, 23, 18 and 27% more (P < 0.001) than their LRFI counterparts. Corresponding percentages for CH HRFI compared to CH LRFI steers were 18, 23, 13 and 22%. Ten OTUs were associated with RFI (q < 0.05) independent of the other factors investigated. Of these Methanomassiliicoccaceae, Mogibacteriaceae and the genus p-75-a5 of Erysipelotrichaceae and were negatively associated (q < 0.05) with RFI. The results gave evidence that microbial species could potentially be an indicator of RFI in ruminants rather than broader microbiome metrics; however, further research is required to elucidate this association.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2020 Springer Nature Limited
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