Effect of antimicrobial growth promoter administration on the intestinal microbiota of beef cattle.

Reti, K.L., Thomas, M.C., Yanke, L.J., Selinger, L.B., and Inglis, G.D. (2013). "Effect of antimicrobial growth promoter administration on the intestinal microbiota of beef cattle.", Gut Pathogens, 5:8. doi : 10.1186/1757-4749-5-8  Access to full text


Background Antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs) are antimicrobial agents administered to livestock in feed for prolonged periods to enhance feed efficiency. Beef cattle are primarily finished in confined feeding operations in Canada and the USA, and the administration of AGPs such as chlortetracycline and sulfamethazine (Aureo S-700 G) is the standard. The impacts of AGPs on the intestinal microbiota of beef cattle are currently uncertain; it is documented that AGPs administered to beef cattle pass through the rumen and enter the intestine. To ascertain the impacts of Aureo S-700 G on the small and large intestinal microbiota of beef cattle (mucosa-associated and within digesta), terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis and quantitative PCR (qPCR) for total bacteria were applied. Beef cattle were maintained in an experimental feedlot (five replicate pens per treatment), and AGP treatment cattle were administered Aureo S-700 G in feed, whereas control cattle were administered no antimicrobials. As the intestinal microbiota of beef cattle has not been extensively examined, clone library analysis was applied to ascertain the primary bacterial constituents of the intestinal microbiota. Results Comparative T-RFLP and qPCR analysis (n = 122 samples) revealed that bacterial community fingerprints and bacterial load within digesta differed from those associated with mucosa. However, the administration of Aureo S-700 G did not affect bacterial community fingerprints or bacterial load within the small and large intestine relative to control cattle. Analysis of >1500 near full length 16S rDNA clones revealed considerably greater bacterial diversity in the large relative to the small intestine of beef cattle. Mucosa-associated bacterial communities in the jejunum were dominated by Proteobacteria, and differed conspicuously from those in the ileum and large intestine. Although the ileum contained bacterial clones that were common to the jejunum as well as the cecum, Firmicutes clones associated with mucosa dominated in the ileum, cecum, and descending colon. In the descending colon, clone library analysis did not reveal a difference in the richness or diversity of bacterial communities within digesta relative to those associated with mucosa. However, T-RFLP analysis indicated a significant difference in T-RF relative abundance (i.e. difference in relative taxon abundance) between mucosa-associated and digesta communities attributed in part to the differential abundance of Bacteriodes, Alistipes, Oscillibacter, and unclassified Clostridiales. Conclusions These data demonstrate that there was no significant difference in the composition of the predominant intestinal bacteria constituents within animals administered Aureo S-700 G and those not administered AGPs after a 28 day withdrawal period.

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