Linking peripartal dynamics of ruminal microbiota to dietary changes and production parameters

Hooman Derakhshani, Hein M. Tun, Felipe C. Cardoso, Jan C. Plaizier, Ehsan Khafipour, Juan J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the peripartal period, proper acclimatization of rumen microorganisms to variations in nutritional management can facilitate the transition into lactation. This study characterized the temporal shifts in the composition and functional properties of ruminal microbiota during the periparturient period in dairy cows subjected to a typical two-tiered feeding management approach. Ruminal digesta samples from eight multiparous fistulated Holstein cows were collected on days -14, -7, 10, 20, and 28 relative to parturition. High-throughput Illumina sequencing of the V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene revealed distinct clustering patterns between pre- and postpartal ruminal microbiota. During the prepartal period, when the voluntary dry matter intake was lower, we observed strikingly lower inter-animal variations in the composition of the ruminal microbiota. Genera Ruminococcus and Butyrivibrio, which are considered major fibrolytic rumen dwellers, were overrepresented in the prepartal rumen ecosystem. In contrast, increased postpartal voluntary DMI was associated with enrichment of bacterial genera mainly consisting of proteolytic, amylolytic, and lactate-producer species (including Prevotella, Streptococcus, and Lactobacillus). These, together with the postpartal enrichment of energy metabolism pathways, suggested a degree of acclimatization of the ruminal microbiota to harvest energy from the carbohydrate-dense lactation diet. In addition, correlations between ruminal microbiota and parameters such as milk yield and milk composition underscored the metabolic contribution of this microbial community to the cow's performance and production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2143
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberJAN
StatePublished - Jan 12 2017


  • 16S rRNA gene sequencing
  • Dairy cattle
  • Nutrition
  • Rumen microbiota
  • Transition period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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