Food Science and Technology Department


Document Type


Date of this Version



J. Anim. Sci. 2014.92:683–694 doi:10.2527/jas2013-6841


U.S. government work.


The objective of this study is to investigate individual animal variation of bovine fecal microbiota including as affected by diets. Fecal samples were collected from 426 cattle fed 1 of 3 diets typically fed to feedlot cattle: 1) 143 steers fed finishing diet (83% dry-rolled corn, 13% corn silage, and 4% supplement), 2) 147 steers fed late growing diet (66% dry-rolled corn, 26% corn silage, and 8% supplement), and 3) 136 heifers fed early growing diet (70% corn silage and 30% alfalfa haylage). Bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons were determined from individual fecal samples using next-generation pyrosequencing technology. A total of 2,149,008 16S rRNA gene sequences from 333 cattle with at least 2,000 sequences were analyzed. Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes were dominant phyla in all fecal samples. At the genus level, Oscillibacter, Turicibacter, Roseburia, Fecalibacterium, Coprococcus, Clostridium, Prevotella, and Succinivibrio were represented by more than 1% of total sequences. However, numerous sequences could not be assigned to a known genus. Dominant unclassified groups were unclassified Ruminococcaceae and unclassified Lachnospiraceae that could be classified to a family but not to a genus. These dominant genera and unclassified groups differed (P < 0.001) with diets. A total of 176,692 operational taxonomic units (OTU) were identified in combination across all the 333 cattle. Only 2,359 OTU were shared across 3 diet groups. UniFrac analysis showed that bacterial communities in cattle feces were greatly affected by dietary differences. This study indicates that the community structure of fecal microbiota in cattle is greatly affected by diet, particularly between forage- and concentrate-based diets.

Included in

Food Science Commons