Selenium Yeast Dietary Supplement Affects Rumen Bacterial Population Dynamics and Fermentation Parameters of Tibetan Sheep (Ovis aries) in Alpine Meadow

Xiongxiong Cui, Zhaofeng Wang, Yuhui Tan, Shenghua Chang, Huiru Zheng, Haiying Wang, Tianhai Yan, Tsedan Guru, Fujiang Hou

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25 Citations (Scopus)
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Selenium (Se) deficiency is a widespread and seasonally chronic phenomenon observed in Tibetan sheep (Ovis aries) traditionally grazed on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (QTP). Effects of the dietary addition of Se-enriched yeast (SeY) on the bacterial community in sheep rumen and rumen fermentation were evaluated with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the rumen prokaryotic community. Twenty-four yearling Tibetan rams [initial average body weight (BW) of 31.0 ± 0.64 kg] were randomly divided into four treatment groups, namely, control (CK), low Se (L), medium Se (M), and high Se (H). Each group comprised six rams and was fed a basic diet of fresh forage cut from the alpine meadow, to which SeY was added at prescribed dose rates. This feed trial was conducted for over 35 days. On the final day, rumen fluid was collected using a transesophageal sampler for analyzing rumen pH, NH 3-N content, volatile fatty acid (VFA) level, and the rumen microbial community. Our analyses showed that NH 3-N, total VFA, and propionate concentrations in the M group were significantly higher than in the other groups (P < 0.05). Both the principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) and the analysis of similarities revealed that the bacterial population structure of rumen differed among the four groups. The predominant rumen bacterial phyla were found to be Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, and the three dominant genera in all the samples across all treatments were Christensenellaceae R7 group, Rikenellaceae RC9 gut group, and Prevotella 1. The relative abundances of Prevotella 1, Rikenellaceae RC9 gut group, Ruminococcus 2, Lachnospiraceae XPB1014 group, Carnobacterium, and Hafnia-Obesumbacterium were found to differ significantly among the four treatment groups (P < 0.05). Moreover, Tax4fun metagenome estimation revealed that gene functions and metabolic pathways associated with carbohydrate and other amino acids were overexpressed in the rumen microbiota of SeY-supplemented sheep. To conclude, SeY significantly affects the abundance of rumen bacteria and ultimately affects the rumen microbial fermentation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number663945
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Early online date2 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research: Grassland Ecosystem and Ecological Animal Husbandry (2019QZKK0302), the Program for Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA20100102), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31672472 and No. 31201821), and Innovative Research Team of Ministry of Education (IRT_17R50).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Cui, Wang, Tan, Chang, Zheng, Wang, Yan, Guru and Hou.


  • Microbiology
  • Tibetan sheep
  • selenium
  • Qinghai-Tibet plateau
  • bacterial communities
  • high-throughput sequencing
  • grazing
  • alpine meadow selenium
  • rumen bacterial communities


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