The effects of a probiotic yeast on the bacterial diversity and population structure in the rumen of cattle

Eric Pinloche, Neil McEwan, Jean-Philippe Marden, Corinne Bayourthe, Eric Auclair, C Jamie Newbold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Citations (Scopus)


It has been suggested that the ability of live yeast to improve milk yield and weight gain in cattle is because the yeast stimulates bacterial activity within the rumen. However it remains unclear if this is a general stimulation of all species or a specific stimulation of certain species. Here we characterised the change in the bacterial population within the rumen of cattle fed supplemental live yeast. Three cannulated lactating cows received a daily ration (24 kg/d) of corn silage (61% of DM), concentrates (30% of DM), dehydrated alfalfa (9% of DM) and a minerals and vitamins mix (1% of DM). The effect of yeast (BIOSAF SC 47, Lesaffre Feed Additives, France; 0.5 or 5 g/d) was compared to a control (no additive) in a 3 × 3 Latin square design. The variation in the rumen bacterial community between treatments was assessed using Serial Analysis of V1 Ribosomal Sequence Tag (SARST-V1) and 454 pyrosequencing based on analysis of the 16S rRNA gene. Compared to the control diet supplementation of probiotic yeast maintained a healthy fermentation in the rumen of lactating cattle (higher VFA concentration [high yeast dose only], higher rumen pH, and lower Eh and lactate). These improvements were accompanied with a shift in the main fibrolytic group (Fibrobacter and Ruminococcus) and lactate utilising bacteria (Megasphaera and Selenomonas). In addition we have shown that the analysis of short V1 region of 16s rRNA gene (50-60 bp) could give as much phylogenetic information as a longer read (454 pyrosequencing of 250 bp). This study also highlights the difficulty of drawing conclusions on composition and diversity of complex microbiota because of the variation caused by the use of different methods (sequencing technology and/or analysis).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere67824
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPrint publication - 2 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Bacteria/classification
  • Biodiversity
  • Cattle
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial/chemistry
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Lactation/physiology
  • Microbiota/drug effects
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Population Dynamics
  • Probiotics/administration & dosage
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/classification
  • Rumen/drug effects
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Yeasts/physiology


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