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Rapid adaptation of the bacterial community in the growing rabbit caecum after a change in dietary fibre supply

Abstract : This work aimed to study the response of the growing rabbit caecal ecosystem (bacterial community and caecal environmental parameters) after a switch from a control to a low-fibre diet (LFD). A group of 160 rabbits were fed ad libitum a control diet (ADF: 20.4%) from weaning (36 days). At 49 days of age (day 0), 75 rabbits were switched to a LFD group (ADF: 10.7%), whereas 85 others (control group) remained on the control diet, for 39 days. Caecal contents were regularly sampled throughout the trial (60 rabbits per group). The bacterial community structure was characterized using CE-SSCP (capillary electrophoresis single strand conformation polymorphism) and total bacteria were quantified using real-time PCR. Redox potential (Eh), pH, NH3-N, volatile fatty acid (VFA) were measured in the caecum to characterize environmental parameters. The reduction of fibre in the diet modified the CE-SSCP profiles ( P,0.001) but not the diversity index (5.660.8, ns). The number of 16S rRNA gene copies of total bacteria decreased ( P,0.01) in LFD rabbits compared with controls. In LFD rabbits, the caecal environment was less acid (10.2 units; P,0.01), more reductive (211 mV; P,0.05) and drier (13.4 g 100 per g; P,0.001), with an increase in NH3-N (177%; P,0.001) and a decrease in total VFA concentration (217%; P,0.001). We found significant correlations between the bacterial community, the quantity of bacteria and the caecal traits of the caecal ecosystem. Indeed, in both groups, the caecal traits barely constrained the total inertia of the CE-SSCP profile set (less than 14%), whereas total bacteria were positively related to total VFA, acetic acid and butyric acid levels, and Eh, and negatively related to pH. All the microbial and environmental modifications had occurred by day 2 and remained stable thereafter. These results suggest that the bacterial community in the growing rabbit caecum is able to adapt quickly after a change to in the dietary fibre supply to reach a new steady-state equilibrium.
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Rory Michelland, Sylvie Combes, Valérie Monteils, Laurent Cauquil, Thierry Gidenne, et al.. Rapid adaptation of the bacterial community in the growing rabbit caecum after a change in dietary fibre supply. animal, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2011, 5 (11), pp.1761-1768. ⟨10.1017/S1751731111001005⟩. ⟨hal-02650069⟩

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