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This study aimed to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation of different dosages of active dried yeast (ADY) on the fecal methanogenic archaea community of dairy cattle. Twelve multiparous, healthy, mid-lactating Holstein dairy cows (body weight: 584 ± 23.2 kg, milk produced: 26.3 ± 1.22 kg/d) were randomly assigned to one of three treatments (control, ADY2, and ADY4) according to body weight with four replicates per treatment. Cows in the control group were fed conventional rations without ADY supplementation, while cows in the ADY2 and ADY4 group were fed rations supplemented with ADY at 2 or 4 g/d/head. Real-time PCR analysis showed the populations of total methanogens in the feces were significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in the ADY4 group compared with control. High-throughput sequencing technology was applied to examine the differences in methanogenic archaea diversity in the feces of the three treatment groups. A total of 155,609 sequences were recovered (a mean of 12,967 sequences per sample) from the twelve fecal samples, which consisted of a number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) ranging from 1451 to 1,733, were assigned to two phyla, four classes, five orders, five families and six genera. Bioinformatic analyses illustrated that the natural fecal archaeal community of the control group was predominated by Methanobrevibacter (86.9% of the total sequence reads) and Methanocorpusculum (10.4%), while the relative abundance of the remaining four genera were below 1% with Methanosphaera comprising 0.8%, Thermoplasma composing 0.4%, and the relative abundance of Candidatus Nitrososphaera and Halalkalicoccus being close to zero. At the genus level, the relative abundances of Methanocorpusculum and Thermoplasma were increased (P < 0.05) with increasing dosage of ADY. Conversely, the predominant methanogen genus Methanobrevibacter was decreased with ADY dosage (P < 0.05). Dietary supplementation of ADY had no significant effect (P > 0.05) on the abundances of genera unclassified, Candidatus Nitrososphaera, and Halalkalicoccus. In conclusion, supplementation of ADY to the rations of dairy cattle could alter the population sizes and composition of fecal methanogenic archaea in the feces of dairy cattle. The decrease in Methanobrevibacter happened with a commensurate increase in the genera Methanocorpusculum and Thermoplasma.

Keywords: Active dried yeast; Dairy cattle; Hindgut; Methanogenic archaea diversity.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Active YeastIncreased Methanocorpusculum AbundanceNeutral
Active YeastIncreased Thermoplasma AbundanceNeutral
Active YeastReduced Methanobrevibacter LevelsBeneficial

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