Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA amplicons to monitor changes in fecal bacterial populations of weaning pigs after introduction of Lactobacillus reuteri strain MM53

J. M. Simpson, V. J. McCracken, H. R. Gaskins, R. I. Mackie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The diversity and stability of the fecal bacterial microbiota in weaning pigs was studied after introduction of an exogenous Lactobacillus reuteri strain, MM53, using a combination of cultivation and techniques based on genes encoding 16S rRNA (16S rDNA). Piglets (n = 9) were assigned to three treatment groups (control, daily dosed, and 4th-day dosed), and fresh fecal samples were collected daily. Dosed animals received 2.5 x 1010 CFU of antibiotic-resistant L. reuteri MM53 daily or every 4th day. Mean Lactobacillus counts for the three groups ranged from 1 x 109 to 4 x 109 CFU/g of feces. Enumeration of strain L. reuteri MM53 on MRS agar (Difco) plates containing streptomycin and rifampin showed that the introduced strain fluctuated between 8 x 103 and 5 x 106 CFU/g of feces in the two dosed groups. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of PCR-amplified 16S rDNA fragments, with primers specific for variable regions 1 and 3 (V1 and V3), was used to profile complexity of fecal bacterial populations. Analysis of DGGE banding profiles indicated that each individual maintained a unique fecal bacterial population that was stable over time, suggesting a strong host influence. In addition, individual DGGE patterns could be separated into distinct time-dependent clusters. Primers designed specifically to restrict DGGE analysis to a select group of lactobacilli allowed examination of interspecies relationships and abundance. Based on relative band migration distance and sequence determination, L. reuteri was distinguishable within the V1 region 16S rDNA gene patterns. Daily fluctuations in specific bands within these profiles were observed, which revealed an antagonistic relationship between L. reuteri MM53 (band V1-3) and another indigenous Lactobacillus assemblage (band V1-6).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4705-4714
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 18 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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