© 2016 Rawski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Probiotics are widely used in nutrition, and their mode of action is intensively studied in mammals and birds; however, it is almost unknown in reptiles. In the present study, Trachemys scripta scripta and Sternotherus odoratus were used to assess the effects of dietary probiotics on chelonian gastrointestinal tract microecology. In the first, 20-week experiment, 40 young T. s. scripta were randomly distributed to four experimental groups: 1st, (CON)â€"with no additives; 2nd, (SSPA) with Bacillus subtilis PB6; 3rd, (MSP)â€"with multiple strain probiotic; and 4th, (SSPB) with Bacillus subtilis C-3102. The first study has shown that SSPA and MSP decreased the numbers of total bacteria, Enterobacteriace, Staphylococcus sp. and Streptococcus sp. excreted to water and increased the villous height and mucosa thickness in duodenum. SSPB improved the duodenal microstructure; however, it also increased numbers of kanamycin and vancomycin resistant bacteria, Staphylococcus sp. and Streptococcus sp., in water. In the second, 52-week experiment, 30 S. odoratus were randomly assigned to three dietary treatments. CON, SSPA and MSP groups. The MSP preparation increased the body weight gain, crude ash, Ca and P share in the turtles' shells. Both probiotics affected duodenal histomorphology. SSPA decreased the villous height, while MSP increased the villous height and mucosa thickness, and decreased the crypt depth. SSPA decreased the concentrations of bacteria excreted to water. In the case of intestinal microbiota, bacteria suppressing effects were observed in the case of both probiotics. MSP increased the number of Bifidobacterium sp. and Lactobacillus sp./Enteroccoccus sp., and decreased the number of Clostridium perfringens and Campylobacter sp. in the small intestine. In the large intestine it lowered, amongst others, Bacteroidesâ€"Pervotella cluster, Clostridium leptum subgroup and Clostridium perfringens numbers. The above-mentioned results suggest that probiotics are useful in turtle nutrition due to their positive effects on growth performance, shell mineralization, duodenal histomorphology and microbiota.
Rawski, M., Kieronczyk, B., Dlugosz, J., Swiatkiewicz, S., & Józefiak, D. (2016). Dietary probiotics affect gastrointestinal microbiota, histological structure and shell mineralization in turtles. PLoS ONE, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0147859