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Logo of bmcmicrBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Microbiology
 
BMC Microbiol. 2012; 12: 1.
Published online Jan 5, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2180-12-1
PMCID: PMC3292460
Molecular analysis of methanogenic archaea in the forestomach of the alpaca (Vicugna pacos)
Benoit St-Pierre1 and André-Denis G Wrightcorresponding author1,2,3
1Department of Animal Science, The University of Vermont, 570 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
2Department of Medicine, The University of Vermont, 111 Colchester Ave., Burlington, VT 05401, USA
3Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The University of Vermont, 95 Carrigan Drive, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Benoit St-Pierre: bstpierr/at/uvm.edu; André-Denis G Wright: agwright/at/uvm.edu
Received September 14, 2011; Accepted January 5, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Methanogens that populate the gastrointestinal tract of livestock ruminants contribute significantly to methane emissions from the agriculture industry. There is a great need to analyze archaeal microbiomes from a broad range of host species in order to establish causal relationships between the structure of methanogen communities and their potential for methane emission. In this report, we present an investigation of methanogenic archaeal populations in the foregut of alpacas.
Results
We constructed individual 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from five sampled animals and recovered a total of 947 sequences which were assigned to 51 species-level OTUs. Individuals were found to each have between 21 and 27 OTUs, of which two to six OTUs were unique. As reported in other host species, Methanobrevibacter was the dominant genus in the alpaca, representing 88.3% of clones. However, the alpaca archaeal microbiome was different from other reported host species, as clones showing species-level identity to Methanobrevibacter millerae were the most abundant.
Conclusion
From our analysis, we propose a model to describe the population structure of Methanobrevibacter-related methanogens in the alpaca and in previously reported host species, which may contribute in unraveling the complexity of symbiotic archaeal communities in herbivores.
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