Cultivation independent analysis of the development of the Lactobacillus spp. Community in the intestinal tract of newborn piglets

W. Yao, W.Y. Zhu, H. Smidt, M.W.A. Verstegen

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Molecular diversity and development of the Lactobacillus community in the intestinal tract, as influenced by age and intestinal compartment, were studied in one litter of 12 conventionally raised piglets. Piglets were euthanized at each week (3 animals per time). Digesta and tissue samples from stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, caecum, colon, and rectum were collected and analysed by using 16S ribosomal RNA-based methods. DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) profiles revealed that the Lactobacillus communities throughout the GI tract from duodenum to rectum showed good stability at same age. This indicates that fecal Lactobacillus communities can effectively represent the intestinal community. Two dominant bands were found in tissue samples of the small intestine, suggesting that the lactobacilli can adhere to the small intestinal wall. The Lactobacillus communities in different GI tract compartments developed over time. A successional change of Lactobacillus communities was observed from birth, through creep feeding to one week after weaning, showing a trend from simple to complex and back to simple. Furthermore, a clone library of Lactobacillus spp. 16S rRNA gene sequences were generated from jejunal and colonic chymes. Six dominant DGGE bands generated from jejunal chymes were matched with sequences that show 94-98% similarity to the bands derived from L. reuteri, L. delbrueckii, and L. crispatus. Seven dominant DGGE bands generated from colon chymes were matched with sequences that show 88-99% similarity to those derived from L. reuteri, L. delbrueckii, L. amylovorus/L. sobrius, and L. acidophilus. Amplicons related to L. reuteri were found in all DGGE fingerprints from jejunal digesta of age of weeks 1, 3, and 4. Amplicons related to L. amylovorus/L. sobrius were present in all DGGE fingerprints from colonic digesta of age of week 1, 3, and 4. Amplicons related to L. delbrueckii were found before weaning, L. crispatus after creep feeding before weaning and L. acidophilus after weaning. This indicates that L. reuteri and L. amylovorus/L. sobrius probably belong to the permanent composition, while L. delbruckii, L. acidophilus, and L. crispatus probably belong to the temporal groups of Lactobacillus communities in the GI tract of piglets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-447
JournalAgricultural Sciences in China
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • gradient gel-electrophoresis
  • 16s ribosomal-rna
  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • weaning piglets
  • gastrointestinal-tract
  • weanling pigs
  • weight-gain
  • probiotics
  • microbiota
  • quantification

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