The gut and vaginal microbiome profiles of pregnant sows and their contribution to neonatal piglet gut microbiome development
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The study was conducted to characterize the fecal and vaginal microbiome of pregnant sows and their contribution to piglet microbiome development and to evaluate the microbiome profile of diarrheic and non-diarrheic piglets. Fecal and vaginal samples were taken from sows 3-5 days before farrowing, and fecal samples were collected from five male and female piglets born to each sow on days 0, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 14 after birth. DNA was extracted from each sample and subjected to Illumina sequencing to explore the microbiome composition. Significant differences were found between sow fecal, sow vaginal and piglet fecal samples (P=0.0001). Sow fecal samples had higher richness and diversity compared to sow vagina and piglet fecal samples (P=0.0001). Sow fecal samples were primarily composed of the phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Spirochaetes while sow vaginal samples were associated with Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. Firmicutes and Proteobacteria dominated piglet fecal samples in the first three days. However, increasing age of piglets was associated with a diminished quantity of bacteria from the phyla Proteobacteria with increasing quantities of the phyla Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. No differences were observed in richness or diversity between diarrheic piglets and non-diarrheic piglets. However, certain bacterial taxa were enhanced in diarrheic piglets compared to non-diarrheic piglets and vice versa. This pattern may serve as a biomarker of dysbiotic microbiota that promotes diarrhea in neonatal piglets. The results of this study do not show a strong contribution of sow microbiome to the development of piglet microbiome at birth, but this may be because piglets were administered antibiotics at birth, which may have affected initial colonization. However as piglets grew, their microbiome gradually approached that of the sow microbiome.