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posted on 13.04.2021, 07:03 by Zhigang Zhu, Gareth Frank Difford, Samantha Joan Noel, Jan Lassen, Peter Løvendahl, Ole Højberg

Better characterization of changes in the rumen microbiota in dairy cows over the lactation period is crucial for understanding how microbial factors may potentially be interacting with host phenotypes. In the present study, we characterized the rumen bacterial and archaeal community composition of 60 lactating Holstein dairy cows (33 multiparous and 27 primiparous), sampled twice within the same lactation with a 122 days interval. Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes dominated the rumen bacterial community and showed no difference in relative abundance between samplings. Two less abundant bacterial phyla (SR1 and Proteobacteria) and an archaeal order (Methanosarcinales), on the other hand, decreased significantly from the mid-lactation to the late-lactation period. Moreover, between-sampling stability assessment of individual operational taxonomic units (OTUs), evaluated by concordance correlation coefficient (C-value) analysis, revealed the majority of the bacterial OTUs (6,187 out of 6,363) and all the 79 archaeal OTUs to be unstable over the investigated lactation period. The remaining 176 stable bacterial OTUs were mainly assigned to Prevotella, unclassified Prevotellaceae, and unclassified Bacteroidales. Milk phenotype-based screening analysis detected 32 bacterial OTUs, mainly assigned to unclassified Bacteroidetes and Lachnospiraceae, associated with milk fat percentage, and 6 OTUs, assigned to Ruminococcus and unclassified Ruminococcaceae, associated with milk protein percentage. These OTUs were only observed in the multiparous cows. None of the archaeal OTUs was observed to be associated with the investigated phenotypic parameters, including methane production. Co-occurrence analysis of the rumen bacterial and archaeal communities revealed Fibrobacter to be positively correlated with the archaeal genus vadinCA11 (Pearson r = 0.76) and unclassified Methanomassiliicoccaceae (Pearson r = 0.64); vadinCA11, on the other hand, was negatively correlated with Methanobrevibacter (Pearson r = –0.56). In conclusion, the rumen bacterial and archaeal communities of dairy cows displayed distinct stability at different taxonomic levels. Moreover, specific members of the rumen bacterial community were observed to be associated with milk phenotype parameters, however, only in multiparous cows, indicating that dairy cow parity could be one of the driving factors for host–microbe interactions.

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