Impact of parenteral antimicrobial administration on the structure and diversity of the fecal microbiota of growing pigs

Mohamed Zeineldin, Brian Aldridge, Benjamin Blair, Katherine Kancer, James Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While antimicrobials are cost-effective tools for prevention and treatment of infectious disease, the impact of their use on potentially beneficent mucosal microbial communities of growing pigs has not been widely explored. The objective of this study was to characterize the impact of parenteral antibiotics administration on the composition and diversity of the resident fecal microbiota in growing pigs. Five antimicrobial treatment groups, each consisting of four, eight-week old piglets, were administered one of the antimicrobials; Ceftiofur Crystalline free acid (CCFA), Ceftiofur hydrochloride (CHC), Oxytetracycline (OTC), Procaine Penicillin G (PPG) and Tulathromycin (TUL) at label dose and route. Individual fecal swabs were collected immediately before antimicrobial administration (control = day 0), and again on days 1, 3, 7, and 14 after dosing. Genomic DNA was extracted, and the V1-V3 hypervariable region of 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced using Illumina Miseq-based sequencing. Across all groups, the most abundant phyla were Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria. Linear discriminant analysis and stacked area graphs, showed a pronounced, antimicrobial-dependent shift in the composition of fecal microbiota over time from day 0. By day 14, the fecal microbial compositions of the groups receiving CHC and TUL had returned to a distribution that closely resembled that observed on day 0, but differences were still evident. In contrast, animals that received PPG, OTC and CCFA, showed a tendency towards a balanced homeostatic microbiota structure on day 7, but appeared to deviate away from the day 0 composition by day 14. Based on our results, the observed changes in fecal microbiota showed antimicrobial-specific variation in both duration and extent. Understanding the impact of these important antimicrobial-induced changes will be a critical step in optimizing the use of antimicrobials in health management programs in the swine industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-229
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
StatePublished - May 2018


  • 16S rRNA gene
  • Antimicrobials
  • Fecal microbiota
  • Swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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