Abrupt dietary changes between grass and hay alter faecal microbiota of ponies

Garber, A. , Hastie, P. , McGuinness, D. , Malarange, P. and Murray, J.-A. (2020) Abrupt dietary changes between grass and hay alter faecal microbiota of ponies. PLoS ONE, 15(8), e0237869. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0237869) (PMID:32810164) (PMCID:PMC7446798)

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Abrupt dietary changes, as can be common when managing horses, may lead to compositional changes in gut microbiota, which may result in digestive or metabolic disturbances. The aim of this study was to describe and compare the faecal microbiota of ponies abruptly changed from pasture grazing ad libitum to a restricted hay-only diet and vice versa. The experiment consisted of two, 14-day periods. Faecal samples were collected on day 0 and days 1–3,7,14 after abrupt dietary change from grass to hay and from hay to grass. Microbial populations were characterised by sequencing the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene using the Illumina MiSeq platform, 4,777,315 sequences were obtained from 6 ponies. Further analyses were performed to characterise the microbiome as well as the relative abundance of microbiota present. The results of this study suggest that the faecal microbiota of mature ponies is highly diverse, and the relative abundances of individual taxa change in response to abrupt changes in diet. The faecal microbiota of ponies maintained on a restricted amount of hay-only was similar to that of the ponies fed solely grass ad libitum in terms of richness and phylogenetic diversity; however, it differed significantly in terms of the relative abundances at distinct taxonomic levels. Class Bacilli, order Lactobacillales, family Lactobacillaceae, and genus Lactobacillus were presented in increased relative abundance on day 2 after an abrupt dietary change from hay to grass compared to all other experimental days (P <0.05). Abrupt changes from grass to hay and vice versa affect the faecal microbial community structure; moreover, the order of dietary change appears to have a profound effect in the first few days following the transition. An abrupt dietary change from hay to grass may represent a higher risk for gut disturbances compared to abrupt change from grass to hay.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors gratefully acknowledge the scholarship (for A.Garber) and funding support for this study from the Trustees of the Ronald Miller Foundation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hastie, Professor Peter and Garber, Dr Anna and Murray, Professor Jo-Anne and Mcguinness, Dr David
Creator Roles:
Garber, A.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Visualization, Writing – original draft
Hastie, P.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Validation, Writing – review and editing
McGuinness, D.Formal analysis, Methodology, Software, Visualization
Murray, J.-A.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Validation, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Garber, A., Hastie, P., McGuinness, D., Malarange, P., and Murray, J.-A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Garber et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 15(8): e0237869
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
Data DOI:10.5525/gla.researchdata.986

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