Alterations in the Colonic Microbiota of Pigs Associated with Feeding Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles

Plummer, Paul
Burrough, Eric
Arruda, Bailey
Patience, John
Patience, John
Plummer, Paul
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Animal ScienceVeterinary Microbiology and Preventive MedicineVeterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

In an effort to reduce feed costs, many pork producers have increased their use of coproducts of biofuel production in commercial pig diets, including increased feeding of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The inclusion of DDGS increases the insoluble fiber content in the ration, which has the potential to impact the colonic microbiota considerably as the large intestine contains a dynamic microenvironment with tremendous interplay between microorganisms. Any alteration to the physical or chemical properties of the colonic contents has the potential to impact the resident bacterial population and potentially favor or inhibit the establishment of pathogenic species. In the present study, colonic contents collected at necropsy from pigs fed either 30% or no DDGS were analyzed to examine the relative abundance of bacterial taxa associated with feeding this ingredient. No difference in alpha diversity (richness) was detected between diet groups. However, the beta diversity was significantly different between groups with feeding of DDGS being associated with a decreased Firmicutes:Bacteriodetes ratio (P = .004) and a significantly lower abundance of Lactobacillus spp. (P = .016). Predictive functional profiling of the microbiota revealed more predicted genes associated with carbohydrate metabolism, protein digestion, and degradation of glycans in the microbiota of pigs fed DDGS. Taken together, these findings confirm that alterations in dietary insoluble fiber significantly alter the colonic microbial profile of pigs and suggest the resultant microbiome may predispose to the development of colitis.


This article is published as Burrough ER, Arruda BL, Patience JF, Plummer PJ (2015) Alterations in the Colonic Microbiota of Pigs Associated with Feeding Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141337. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141337. Posted with permission.