Molecular monitoring and characterization of the faecal microbiota of healthy dogs during fructan supplementation


  • Edited by C.W. Penn

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +32 9 264 52 49; fax.: +32 9 264 50 92., E-mail address:


The large intestine of dogs contains a complex microbial ecosystem with predominance of streptococci, bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, Bacteroides and Clostridium. Generally, this predominant microbiota in dogs is relatively stable in time but much less is known about its taxonomic composition. Moreover, almost no studies have been conducted to investigate this stability of the faecal microbial population in dogs upon prebiotic administration. The objective of the present study was to monitor possible changes in faecal microbiota of seven healthy adult dogs related to the administration of two fructans, oligofructose and inulin. For this purpose, population fingerprints generated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis of universal V3 16 S rRNA gene PCR amplicons were compared between control (baseline) samples and samples collected after prebiotic feeding. From these DGGE gels, marked changes were observed in the faecal microbiota between subjects and before and after fructan administration. One DGGE band that appeared or intensified after fructan intake was further analyzed. Sequence analysis could attribute this band to a member of the Streptococcus bovis–equinus group. Following cultivation on MRS medium, a set of faecal isolates that most likely represent the stimulated streptococci were allocated to the species Streptococcus lutetiensis by (GTG)5-PCR fingerprinting and partial 16 S rRNA and sodA gene sequencing. The data provided in this study demonstrate the ability of fructans to influence the bacterial composition of the gut microbiota in healthy dogs. More work is needed to unravel the relevance of S. lutetiensis or other autochthonous organisms of the dog gut as target groups for prebiotic supplementation.