Characterization of bovine ruminal epithelial bacterial communities using 16S rRNA sequencing, PCR-DGGE, and qRT-PCR analysis

Meiju Li, Mi Zhou, Elizabeth Adamowicz, John A. Basarab, Le Luo Guan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Currently, knowledge regarding the ecology and function of bacteria attached to the epithelial tissue of the rumen wall is limited. In this study, the diversity of the bacterial community attached to the rumen epithelial tissue was compared to the rumen content bacterial community using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, PCR-DGGE, and qRT-PCR analysis. Sequence analysis of 2785 randomly selected clones from six 16S rDNA (~1.4. kb) libraries showed that the community structures of three rumen content libraries clustered together and were separated from the rumen tissue libraries. The diversity index of each library revealed that ruminal content bacterial communities (4.12/4.42/4.88) were higher than ruminal tissue communities (2.90/2.73/3.23), based on 97% similarity. The phylum Firmicutes was predominant in the ruminal tissue communities, while the phylum Bacteroidetes was predominant in the ruminal content communities. The phyla Fibrobacteres, Planctomycetes, and Verrucomicrobia were only detected in the ruminal content communities. PCR-DGGE analysis of the bacterial profiles of the rumen content and ruminal epithelial tissue samples from 22 steers further confirmed that there is a distinct bacterial community that inhibits the rumen epithelium. The distinctive epimural bacterial communities suggest that Firmicutes, together with other epithelial-specific species, may have additional functions other than food digestion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 24 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a research grant funded by the Alberta Livestock Development Fund and the Alberta Agriculture Research Institute awarded to L.L. Guan (2007F041R). The authors would like to thank Dr. M. Taniguchi and Ms. Y. Meng for their assistance during sampling.


  • 16S rRNA sequence analysis
  • Bacterial community comparison
  • Ruminal bacterial diversity


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