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Responsive changes of rumen microbiome and metabolome in dairy cows with different susceptibility to subacute ruminal acidosis
Animal Nutrition  (IF6.383),  Pub Date : 2021-12-07, DOI: 10.1016/j.aninu.2021.10.009
Tao Zhang, Yingyu Mu, Ruiyang Zhang, Yanfeng Xue, Changzheng Guo, Wangpan Qi, Jiyou Zhang, Shengyong Mao

Subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) represents one of the most important digestive disorders in intensive dairy farms, and dairy cows are individually different in the severity of SARA risk. The objectives of the current study were to investigate differences in the ruminal bacterial community and metabolome in dairy cattle with different susceptibility to SARA. In the present study, 12 cows were initially enrolled in the experiment. Based on average ruminal pH, 4 cows with the lowest ruminal pH were assigned to the susceptible group (SUS, pH = 5.76, n = 4) and 4 cows with the highest ruminal pH assigned to the tolerant group (TOL, pH = 6.10, n = 4). Rumen contents from susceptible (SUS, n = 4) and tolerant (TOL, n = 4) dairy cows were collected through rumen fistula to systematically reveal the rumen microbial and metabolic alterations of dairy cows with different susceptibility to SARA using multi-omics approaches (16S and 18S rRNA gene sequencing and metabolome). The results showed that despite being fed the same diet, SUS cows had lower ruminal pH and higher concentrations of total volatile fatty acids (VFA) and propionate than TOL cows (P < 0.05). No significant differences were observed in dry matter intake, milk yield, and other milk compositions between the SUS and TOL groups (P > 0.05). The principal coordinates analysis based on the analysis of molecular variance indicated a significant difference in bacterial composition between the two groups (P = 0.01). More specifically, the relative abundance of starch-degrading bacteria (Prevotella spp.) was greater (P < 0.05), while the proportion of fiber-degrading bacteria (unclassified Ruminococcaceae spp., Ruminococcus spp., Papillibacter, and unclassified Family_XIII) was lower in the rumen of SUS cows compared with TOL cows (P < 0.05). Community analysis of protozoa showed that there were no significant differences in the diversity, richness, and community structure (P > 0.05). Metabolomics analysis revealed that the concentrations of organic acids (such as lactic acid), biogenic amines (such as histamine), and bacterial degradation products (such as hypoxanthine) were significantly higher in the SUS group compared to the TOL group (P < 0.05). These findings revealed that the higher proportion of starch-degrading bacteria/lower fiber-degrading bacteria in the rumen of SUS cows resulted in higher VFA-producing capacity, in particular propionate. This caused a disruption in metabolic homeostasis in the rumen which might be the reason for the higher susceptibility to SARA. Overall, these findings enhanced our understanding of the ruminal microbiome and metabolic changes in cows susceptible to SARA.