Microbial diversity studies of the porcine gastrointestinal ecosystem during weaning transition

S.R. Konstantinov, C.F. Favier, Zhu Wei-Yun, B.A. Williams, J. Kluss, W.B. Souffrant, W.M. de Vos, A.D.L. Akkermans, H. Smidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


At the time of weaning, major quantitative and qualitative changes occur in the composition of the intestinal microbiota of piglets, influenced by diet, environmental factors, and the host. Within a short period of time, the intestinal microbiota must ultimately develop from a simple, unstable community into a complex and stable one. Here we present data on the development of the intestinal microbiota based on 16S rRNA gene sequence diversity. In addition to a PCR-based analysis of the 16S rRNA gene by cloning and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), data on fluorescent in situ hybridisation ( FISH) are presented to quantify the total bacterial communities, major Lactobacillus populations and specific Lactobacillus species. The results reported here indicate that the addition of non-digestible, fermentable carbohydrates (= prebiotics) leads to an enrichment of lactobacilli in the small intestine, and increased stability and diversity of the bacterial community in the colon. The data support the hypothesis that changes of the diet can modulate the composition of the microbiota in the intestine. These findings may have potentially major implications for the development of dietary strategies aiming to improve animal health during the weaning process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-324
JournalAnimal Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • gel-electrophoresis analysis
  • 16s ribosomal dna
  • bacterial communities
  • human intestine
  • ecology
  • pigs
  • antibiotics
  • evolution
  • animals
  • tract


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial diversity studies of the porcine gastrointestinal ecosystem during weaning transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this