Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Animal Science

Advisor

Zhao, Jiangchao

Reader

Rosenkrans, Charles

Second Reader

Story, Robert

Abstract

The bovine rumen microbiota is very important in terms of animal functionality and digestion. The fermentative capability of the rumen provides means for the digestion of complex plant material that is indigestible by humans. The rumen is the working ground for millions of microorganisms, primarily bacteria, to digest and ferment feed into volatile fatty acids and bacterial protein for the animal’s energy and protein needs, respectively. Of significant importance is the rumen microbiomes ability to conform to certain factors such as genetics, feed, or geographic location. These changes can have a direct measure on animal growth, health, and performance. The possibility of productivity boosts in the cattle industry make the rumen microbiome a hot topic in the field of livestock research. A consistent and accurate method for the fractionation of rumen contents would improve the ability for researchers to detect differences found in rumen microbiomes among different animals and treatments. The objective of this study was to determine the view that five different sampling methods of rumen contents would have on the rumen microbiome. Steers fed on hay and fresh pasture wheat were used, which also highlight differences found between diets. Next generation sequencing was used to sequence the V4 region of bacterial 16sRNA. Results were analyzed via Mothur and visualized using R. The results of this study provided no significant differences between fractionation methods, however noteworthy differences were observed between the two diets. Due to the lack of differences between methods, the best method was chosen based on time efficiency and simplicity. However, this study allows research scientists to pick the method of choice without sacrificing the accuracy of results. The importance of this study provides a step towards the universalization of the methods for studying the rumen microbiome, therefore creating consistent results across multiple studies.

Keywords

bovine rumen microbiota, animal digestion, cattle industry, fractionation methods

Available for download on Thursday, April 12, 2018

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