Altitude influences microbial diversity and herbage fermentation in the rumen of yaks

dc.contributor.authorFan, Qingshan
dc.contributor.authorWanapat, Metha
dc.contributor.authorYan, Tianhai
dc.contributor.authorHou, Fujiang
dc.descriptionPublication history: Accepted - 27 November 2020; Published online - 4 December 2020en_US
dc.description.abstractBackground: Rumen microbiota in ruminants are vital for sustaining good rumen ecology, health, and productivity. Currently, limited information is available regarding the response of yaks (Bos grunniens) to fluctuating environments, especially the rumen microbiome. To address this, we investigated the diet, rumen bacterial community, and volatile fatty acids (VFA) of rumen fluid of yaks raised in the great Qinghai-Tibet plateau (QTP) at 2800 (low altitude, L), 3700 (middle altitude, M), and 4700 m (high altitude, H) above sea level. Results: The results showed that despite a partial diet overlap, H yaks harbored higher fibrous fractious contents than the M and L grazing yaks. Bacteria including Christensenellaceae_R-7_group, Ruminococcus_1, Romboutsia, Alloprevotella, Eubacterium coprostanoligenes, Clostridium, Streptococcus, and Treponema were found to be enriched in the rumen of yaks grazing at H. They also showed higher rumen microbial diversity and total VFA concentrations than those shown by yaks at M and L. Principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) on weighted UniFrac distances revealed that the bacterial community structure of rumen differed between the three altitudes. Moreover, Tax4fun metagenome estimation revealed that microbial genes associated with energy requirement and carbohydrate metabolic fate were overexpressed in the rumen microbiota of H yaks. Conclusions: Collectively, our results revealed that H yaks had a stronger herbage fermenting ability via rumen microbial fermentation. Their enhanced ability of utilizing herbage may be partly owing to a microbiota adaptation for more energy requirements in the harsh H environment, such as lower temperature and the risk of hypoxia.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was supported by grants from the Program for Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA20100102), the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research: Grassland Ecosystem and Ecological Animal Husbandry (2019QZKK0302), and Innovative Research Team of Ministry of Education (IRT_17R50). The funding bodies had no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.en_US
dc.identifier.citationFan, Q., Wanapat, M., Yan, T. and Hou, F. (2020) ‘Altitude influences microbial diversity and herbage fermentation in the rumen of yaks’, BMC Microbiology, 20(1), p. 370. doi: 10.1186/s12866-020-02054-5.en_US
dc.rights© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the dataen_US
dc.subjectRumen microbiotaen_US
dc.subjectVFA profilesen_US
dc.subjectFermenting abilityen_US
dc.subjectHigh altitudeen_US
dc.titleAltitude influences microbial diversity and herbage fermentation in the rumen of yaksen_US
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