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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2017, Vol. 16 Issue (05): 1130-1137    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(16)61454-5
Animal Science · Veterinary Science Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Comparison of rumen archaeal diversity in adult and elderly yaks (Bos grunniens) using 16S rRNA gene high-throughput sequencing
WANG Li-zhi, Wang Zhi-sheng, Xue Bai, Wu De, PENG Quan-hui

Animal Nutrition Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya’an 625014, P.R.China

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Abstract  This study was conducted to investigate the phylogenetic diversity of archaea in the rumen of adult and elderly yaks.  Six domesticated female yaks, 3 adult yaks ((5.3±0.6) years old), and 3 elderly yaks ((10.7±0.6) years old), were used for the rumen contents collection.  Illumina MiSeq high-throughput sequencing technology was applied to examine the archaeal composition of rumen contents.  A total of 92 901 high-quality archaeal sequences were analyzed, and these were assigned to 2 033 operational taxonomic units (OTUs).  Among these, 974 OTUs were unique to adult yaks while 846 OTUs were unique to elderly yaks; 213 OTUs were shared by both groups.  At the phylum level, more than 99% of the obtained OTUs belonged to the Euryarchaeota phylum.  At the genus level, the archaea could be divided into 7 archaeal genera.  The 7 genera (i.e., Methanobrevibacter, Methanobacterium, Methanosphaera, Thermogymnomonas, Methanomicrobiu, Methanimicrococcus and the unclassified genus) were shared by all yaks, and their total abundance accounted for 99% of the rumen archaea.  The most abundant archaea in elderly and adult yaks were Methanobrevibacter and Thermogymnomonas, respectively.  The abundance of Methanobacteria (class), Methanobacteriales (order), Methanobacteriaceae (family), and Methanobrevibacter (genus) in elderly yaks was significantly higher than in adult yaks.  In contrast, the abundance of Thermogymnomonas in elderly yaks was 34% lower than in adult yaks, though the difference was not statistically significant.  The difference in abundance of other archaea was not significant between the two groups.  These results suggested that the structure of archaea in the rumen of yaks changed with age.  This is the first study to compare the phylogenetic differences of rumen archaeal structure and composition using the yak model. 
Keywords:   yak      archaea      rumen      diversity      high-throughput sequencing  
Received: 16 May 2016   Accepted:

We would like to thank the International Cooperation Project of the Ministry of Sciences and Technology of China (2014DFA32860) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31402104) for their financial support.

Corresponding Authors:  PENG Quan-hui, Tel: +86-835-2885125, Fax: +86-835-2885065, E-mail:    
About author:  WANG Li-zhi, Mobile: +86-13882438306, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

WANG Li-zhi, WANG Zhi-sheng, XUE Bai, WU De, PENG Quan-hui. 2017. Comparison of rumen archaeal diversity in adult and elderly yaks (Bos grunniens) using 16S rRNA gene high-throughput sequencing. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 16(05): 1130-1137.

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