Current Microbiology, Vol.72, No.3, 306-314, 2016
Fecal Bacterial Composition of the Endangered Yangtze Finless Porpoises Living Under Captive and Semi-natural Conditions
Intestinal microbiota is essential to the health and physiology of host animals. We undertook the first microbiological study of the fecal bacterial composition from critically endangered (CR) Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis asiaeorientalis; YFPs) living under captive and semi-natural conditions using both high-throughput sequencing method and 16S rRNA gene clone library method. As determined by high-throughput sequencing of V3-V4 regions of the 16S rRNA gene, semi natural samples harbored 30 and 36 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), which was more than the 22 and 27 OTUs detected from YFPs living in captivity. In captive YFPs Firmicutes was the predominant phylum, whereas this was Proteobacteria for YFPs living in semi-nature conditions. This suggests habitat-specific fecal bacterial composition of YFPs. Plesiotnonas spp. and Aerotnonas spp., which are potentially pathogenic, were identified in all the feces. Bacterial diversity from one porpoise living in captivity was also determined by constructing a 16S rRNA gene clone library and only 1 phylum was identified. High throughput sequencing was more effective at determining the bacterial diversity compared to the 16S rRNA gene clone library. This study provides important information for the management and conservation of the CR YFPs.