The host species affects the microbial community in the goat rumen


Bin Yao, Microbial Engineering Department, Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing  100081, China. E-mail:


Aims:  This study was carried out to determine whether bacterial and ciliate populations in goat rumen vary significantly between different goat species living in the same environment.

Methods and Results:  Bacterial and ciliate communities in the rumen of three goat species were analysed at the molecular level using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. The microbial community varied considerably among goats living in the same environment. Interspecies variation in the bacterial population was noticeably greater than intraspecies variation. In contrast, there was considerable variation in the ciliate population among goats within the same species, and intraspecies similarities were no greater than those observed across species.

Conclusions:  Because environmental factors and diets were identical for all goats, differences in bacterial populations reflect species-specific differences in rumen microbes.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Factors related to the host species have an important effect on determining the bacterial composition in the goat rumen.