Identification of lactic acid bacteria in the rumen and feces of dairy cows fed total mixed ration silage to assess the survival of silage bacteria in the gut

H. Han, Y. Ogata, Y. Yamamoto, S. Nagao, Naoki Nishino

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The survival of silage lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in the gut of dairy cows was evaluated by examining the LAB communities of silage and gut contents. Samples were collected at 2 different research institutes (Mie and Okayama) that offered total mixed ration (TMR) silage throughout the year. Silage and feces were sampled in August, October, and November at the Mie institute, whereas silage, rumen fluid, and feces were sampled in June and August at the Okayama institute. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis using Lactobacillus-specific primers was performed to detect LAB species in the samples. The selected bands were purified for species identification and the band patterns were used for principal component analysis. Lactic acid was the predominant fermentation product in all the TMR silages analyzed, and the lactic acid level tended to be constant regardless of the sampling time and region. A total of 14 LAB species were detected in the TMR silage samples, of which 5 (Lactobacillus acetotolerans, Lactobacillus pontis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus suebicus, and Lactobacillus plantarum) were detected in the dairy cow feces. Most of the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis bands for the feces samples were also detected in the rumen fluid, suggesting that any elimination of silage LAB occurred in the rumen and not in the postruminal gut segments. The principal component analysis indicated that the LAB communities in the silage, rumen fluid, and feces were separately grouped; hence, the survival of silage LAB in the cow rumen and lower gut was deemed difficult. It was concluded that, although the gut LAB community is robust and not easily affected by the silage conditions, several LAB species can inhabit both silage and feces, which suggests the potential of using silage as a vehicle for conveying probiotics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5754-5762
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Dairy cow
  • Gut
  • Lactic acid bacteria
  • Silage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Medicine(all)

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