Analysis of stomach bacterial communities in Australian feral horses
André-Denis, G. Wright
Rafat, Al Jassim
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We investigated the community structure of bacteria that populate the stomach of the Brumby, a breed of feral horses from the Australian outback. Using a 16S rRNA gene clone library, we identified 155 clones that were assigned to 26 OTUs based on a 99.0 % sequence identity cutoff. Two OTUs represented 73.5 % of clones, while 18 OTUs were each assigned only a single clone. Four major bacterial types were identified in the Brumby stomach: Lactobacillaceae, Streptococcaceae, Veillonellaceae and Pasteurellaceae. The first three groups, which represented 98.1 % of the Brumby stomach library clones, belonged to the bacterial phylum Firmicutes. We found that 49.7 % of clones were related to bacterial species previously identified in the equine hindgut, and that 44.5 % of clones were related to symbiotic bacterial species identified in the mouth or throat of either horses or other mammals. Our results indicated that the composition of mutualistic bacterial communities of feral horses was consistent with other studies on domestic horses. In addition to bacterial sequences, we also identified four plastid 16S rRNA gene sequences, which may help in further characterizing the type of vegetation consumed by Brumby horses in their natural environment.