Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Molecular diversity of rumen bacterial communities from tannin-rich and fiber-rich forage fed domestic Sika deer (Cervus nippon) in China

Zhi Peng Li1, Han Lu Liu1, Guang Yu Li1*, Kun Bao1, Kai Ying Wang1, Chao Xu1, Yi Feng Yang1, Fu He Yang1 and André-Denis G Wright2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Economical Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Institute of Special Animal and Plant Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, JiLin, China

2 Department of Animal Science, University of Vermont, 570 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05405-0148, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:151  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-151

Published: 8 July 2013



Sika deer (Cervus nippon) have different dietary preferences to other ruminants and are tolerant to tannin-rich plants. Because the rumen bacteria in domestic Sika deer have not been comprehensively studied, it is important to investigate its rumen bacterial population in order to understand its gut health and to improve the productivity of domestic Sika deer.


The rumen bacterial diversity in domestic Sika deer (Cervus nippon) fed oak leaves- (OL group) and corn stalks-based diets (CS group) were elucidated using 16S rRNA gene libraries and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Overall, 239 sequences were examined from the two groups, 139 clones from the OL group were assigned to 57 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and 100 sequences from the CS group were divided into 50 OTUs. Prevotella-like sequences belonging to the phylum Bacteroidetes were the dominant bacteria in both groups (97.2% OL and 77% CS), and sequences related to Prevotella brevis were present in both groups. However, Prevotella shahii-like, Prevotella veroralis-like, Prevotella albensis-like, and Prevotella salivae-like sequences were abundant in the OL group compared to those in the CS group, while Succinivibrio dextrinosolvens-like and Prevotella ruminicola-like sequences were prevalent in the CS group. PCR-DGGE showed that bacterial communities clustered with respect to diets and the genus Prevotella was the dominant bacteria in the rumen of domestic Sika deer. However, the distribution of genus Prevotella from two groups was apparent. In addition, other fibrolytic bacteria, such as Clostridium populeti and Eubacterium cellulosolvens were found in the rumen of domestic Sika deer.


The rumen of domestic Sika deer harbored unique bacteria which may represent novel species. The bacterial composition appeared to be affected by diet, and sequences related to Prevotella spp. may represent new species that may be related to the degradation of fiber biomass or tannins. Moreover, the mechanism and biological functions of Prevotella spp. in the rumen ecosystem, and synergistic interactions with other microorganisms should be noticed.

Ecology; Prevotella; Fiber; Tannin