Changes in fibre-adherent and fluid-associated microbial communities and fermentation profiles in the rumen of cattle fed diets differing in hay quality and concentrate amount

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Abstract

The rumen microbiota enable important metabolic functions to the host cattle. Feeding of starch-rich concentrate feedstuffs to cattle has been demonstrated to increase the risk of metabolic disorders and to significantly alter the rumen microbiome. Thus, alternative feeding strategies like the use of high-quality hay, rich in sugars, as an alternative energy source need to be explored. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in rumen microbial abundances in the liquid and solid-associated fraction of cattle fed two hay qualities differing in sugar content with graded amounts of starchy concentrate feeds using Illumina MiSeq sequencing and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Operational taxonomic units clustered separately between the liquid and the solid-associated fraction. Phyla in the liquid fraction were identified as mainly Firmicutes, Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes, whereas main phyla of the fibre-associated fraction were Bacteroidetes, Fibrobacteres and Firmicutes. Significant alterations in the rumen bacterial communities at all taxonomic levels as a result of changing the hay quality and concentrate proportions were observed. Several intermicrobial correlations were found. Genera Ruminobacter and Fibrobacter were significantly suppressed by feeding sugar-rich hay, whereas others such as Selenomonas and Prevotella proliferated. This study extends the knowledge about diet-induced changes in ruminal microbiome of cattle.

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