The resident bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and the behaviour of these microbes have been poorly characterised in elk as compared to other ruminant animal species such as sheep and cattle. In addition, most microbial community studies of deer gut have focused on rumen or faeces, while other parts of the GIT such as the small and large intestine have received little attention. To address this issue, the present study investigated the diversity of the GIT bacterial community in elk (Cervus canadensis) by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing analysis. Eight distinct GIT segments including the stomach (rumen, omasum, and abomasum), small intestine (duodenum and jejunum), and large intestine (cecum, colon, and rectum) obtained from four elks were examined. We found that bacterial richness and diversity were higher in the stomach and large intestine than in the small intestine (P < 0.05). A total of 733 genera belonging to 26 phyla were distributed throughout elk GITs, with Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria identified as the predominant phyla. In addition, there was spatial heterogeneity in the composition, diversity, and species abundance of microbiota in the GIT (P < 0.0001). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to characterise bacterial communities from eight GIT regions of elk by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing.
Gastrointestinal tract Elk (Cervus canadensis) 16S rRNA pyrosequencing Bacterial community
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This work was supported by the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ01199301) and the Postdoctoral Course Program of National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration (Korea).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The use and care of the animals used in this study were approved by the Animal Care and Experimentation Committee of the National Institute of Animal Science.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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