Dudhagara, P., Bhavsar, S., Bhagat, C., Ghelani, A., Bhatt, S. and Patel, R. (2015) Web Resources for Metagenomics Studies. Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics, 13, 296-303.
ABSTRACT: Antibiotic growth promoters that have been historically employed to control pathogens and increase the rate of animal development for human consumption are currently banned in many countries. Probiotics have been proposed as an alternative to control pathogenic bacteria. Traditional culture methods typically used to monitor probiotic effects on pathogens possess significant limitations such as a lack in sensitivity to detect fastidious and non-culturable bacteria, and are both time consuming and costly. Here, we tested next generation pyrosequencing technology as a streamline and economical method to monitor the effects of a probiotic on microbial communities in juvenile poultry (Gallus gallus domesticus) after exposure to several microbiological challenges and litter conditions. Seven days and repeated again at 39 days following hatching, chicks were challenged with either Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, Campylobacter jejuni, or no bacteria in the presence of, or without a probiotic (i.e., Bacillus subtilis) added to the feed. Three days following each of two challenges (i.e., days 10 and 42, respectively) the microbiome distributions of the poultry caecum were characterized based on 16S rDNA analysis. Generated PCR products were analyzed by automated identification of the samples after pooling, multiplexing and sequencing. A bioinformatics pipeline was then employed to identify microbial distributions at the phylum and genus level for the treatments. In conclusion, our results demonstrated that pyrosequencing technology is a rapid, efficient and cost-effective method to monitor the effects of probiotics on the microbiome of poultry propagated in an agricultural setting.