Intestinal Bacteria in Chimpanzees in Bossou: A Preliminary Study of Their Nutritional Implication
Chimpanzees are omnivorous animals, but their major food is plant material. The significance of bacterial fermentation in the large intestine for their nutrition is quite evident, because plant materials are composed of many indigestible oligomers and polymers that are fermented by intestinal bacteria to short-chain fatty acids. The nutritional significance of intestinal bacteria is presently difficult to assess in wild animals. We have carried out an in vitro fermentation technique to estimate the fiber-digesting capabilities of wild chimpanzees at Bossou. Fecal bacterial slurries degraded cellulose and xylan for 24 h at 7.5 ± 2.9% and 12.2 ± 6.6%, respectively (n = 11). The results suggest that chimpanzees in the wild have higher cellulose and xylan degradation capabilities compared with humans.
KeywordsLarge Intestine Intestinal Bacterium Wild Chimpanzee Bacterial Fermentation Ciliate Protozoan
A part of this study was supported by the HOPE project from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The author thanks Dr. T. Matsuzawa, Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI), for the opportunity to work on chimpanzees in Bossou and KUPRI. Sincere gratitude is expressed to Dr. S. Fujita (Department of Veterinary Medicine, Yamaguchi University). Thanks are also due to Dr. T. Humle, Dr. A. Kato, and Mr. G. Ohashi in KUPRI for their help with sample collection. I would also like to thank Dr. Y. Ohashi, Mr. G. Uenishi, and Miss M. Hiraguchi of the author’s laboratory for their help with the microbiological analysis. The author is indebted to Mr. P. Goumy, P. Chérif, B. Zogbila, J. Doré, H. Gbéregbé, and M. Doré for their assistance with the collection of chimpanzee feces. Finally, I thank the Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou (IREB) and the Direction Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (DNRST) of the government of the Republic of Guinea for their support.
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