Gut microbiota composition and metabolomic profiles of wild and captive Chinese monals (Lophophorus lhuysii)

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Abstract

Background: The Chinese monal (Lophophorus lhuysii) is an endangered bird species, with a wild population restricted to the mountains in southwest China, and only one known captive population in the world. We investigated the fecal microbiota and metabolome of wild and captive Chinese monals to explore differences and similarities in nutritional status and digestive characteristics. An integrated approach combining 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene sequencing and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) based metabolomics were used to examine the fecal microbiota composition and the metabolomic profile of Chinese monals. Results: The results showed that the alpha diversity of gut microbes in the wild group were significantly higher than that in the captive group and the core bacterial taxa in the two groups showed remarkable differences at phylum, class, order, and family levels. Metabolomic profiling also revealed differences, mainly related to galactose, starch and sucrose metabolism, fatty acid, bile acid biosynthesis and bile secretion. Furthermore, strong correlations between metabolite types and bacterial genus were detected. Conclusions: There were remarkable differences in the gut microbiota composition and metabolomic profile between wild and captive Chinese monals. This study has established a baseline for a normal gut microbiota and metabolomic profile for wild Chinese monals, thus allowing us to evaluate if differences seen in captive organisms have an impact on their overall health and reproduction.

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Jiang, D., He, X., Valitutto, M., Chen, L., Xu, Q., Yao, Y., … Wang, H. (2020). Gut microbiota composition and metabolomic profiles of wild and captive Chinese monals (Lophophorus lhuysii). Frontiers in Zoology, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12983-020-00381-x

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