Study shows that changes in fecal microbiota in foals stabilize after a few months

Molecular methods were used to assess the microorganism community structure in the first five months of a foal’s life.

Scientists in Australia have drawn a graph of increases in the overall abundance, diversity, and richness of microorganisms in the feces of foals during the first months of life.

Writing in the journal, Grace O’Reilly and her fellow researchers write Frontiers in Biology – EliteThe mentioned foals undergo significant growth and development from birth until weaning. In fact, foals develop from 10% of their mature body weight at birth to 50% at weaning.

The energy demand to handle this early growth involves the transition of the diet from milk to forage, supported by microbial colonization of the digestive tract.

Beneficial relationships between bacterial, primordial, and fungal assemblages increase hindgut forage digestibility, producing by-products such as volatile fatty acids and metabolites to maintain host health.

For their study, the researchers collected a total of 70 stool samples from 14 mares and their ponies across five studs in New South Wales, Australia, ranging in age from birth to five months.

Molecular methods were used to assess the community structure of microorganisms. The researchers then looked for the effects of age and location on its makeup.

The researchers found that age at sampling had a significant effect on the foal’s faecal and bacterial microbiota, while the effect of geographic location was smaller but still significant.

They reported that “the overall abundance, diversity, and richness of bacterial and archaeal assemblages increased with age for foals, most significantly higher among foals from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 months of age.”

The most common bacteria isolated from foal feces samples mainly belong to packet Division.

The 15 most abundant species of fungi were all ecologically phytoplankton, most influenced by geographic location rather than age at sampling. Throwing plants live on dead or decaying organic matter. There was an effect of the site on the fungi Breussia Africana The interaction between location and age of fungal species Peach breusiaAnd the manifold acrimoniumAnd the pseudopodospora.

The study team found no effect of age or location on the relative abundance of the remaining fungal species.

They report that for most bacterial and archaeal genera, the fecal microbiome appears to be stable for two to three months, similar to an adult mare.

In general, the microbial community has settled within the hindgut of foals from three to four months of age.

“The increase in bacterial diversity as foals age likely coincides with increased environmental exposure through changing diets and interactions with other animals,” they said.

With few exceptions, samples from adult mares tended to cluster together, as did samples from foals in each age group, regardless of geographic location.

The authors said they were surprised by the abundance of aerobic species that were found, as they mostly expected anaerobic organisms due to the low-oxygen cecum environment.

Age at sampling had a more significant effect on primitive and bacterial faecal microbes than on geographic location. However, the opposite was found for the fungal species.

It is notable, they said, that the 15 most abundant species of fungi were relatively ecologically saprophytes. “Therefore, it was more difficult to establish the connection of these fungi as colonizers of the hind gut.”

They conclude that ecological and nutritional fungi that can survive digestion and maintain a relatively high abundance may have outperformed recognized “essential” anaerobic populations such as Neocallimastigomycota.

The general lack of influence of location on the microbial populations seen in the study, they said, indicates that although environmental factors may influence population structure, there are clear differences at each stage of foal maturation.

The study team consisted of O’Reilly, Katharine Muscat, Gary Muscatello and Alex Chaves, all from the University of Sydney; Mariano Barra and Sarah Mill from The University of Queensland; and Devin Holman, of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Grace C. O’Reilly, Devin B. Holman, Catherine Muscat, Gary Moscatelo, Mariano C. Barra, Sarah J. Mill, Alex F. Chaves. Characterization of the fecal microbiome of foals of 0–5 months of age and their considered mares across five geographical locations. In front of me. Bewsky. (Elite Ed) 2022, 14(3), 22.

The study published under CC licensecan be read over here.