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Friday, August 10 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Nutrition Track: Changes in the Rumen Microbiome of Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) over the Course of the Year

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AUTHORS: Sarah-Alica Dahl, Andreas König – Technical University of Munich, Wildlife Biology and Management Unit, Freising, Germany

ABSTRACT: As a large herbivore, the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is faced on a daily basis with eating nutritional components that are partially difficult to digest. As a ruminant, it owes its ability to digest raw fibre to its rumen microbiome. Depending on the forage type, food situation and season, this is made up of many different groups and species of microorganisms [1]. The roe deer is classified as a so-called “concentrate selector” [2]. This means that roe deer are only able to digest raw fibre to a limited extent and are more likely to take in food with a high crude protein content [2,3,4].

In a preliminary study conducted from 2011 to 2014, we collected the rumina of 220 roe deer in two Bavarian habitat types, gathering the samples throughout the 12 months of each year. We wanted to investigate the adaption of the microbiome to conditions in a natural landscape and those in a cultivated landscape on the one hand, and to seasonal influences over the course of the year on the other. The raw fibre content of the rumen contents was determined and PCR was used to determine the proportions of individual genera known to be found in roe deer. The average proportion of fibre in the food intake of the deer was 25-29% (max. 48%). These high values are attributed to the intermediate feeder type or roughage feeder type of herbivores [2,5]. We found the highest proportions of fibre in forest roe deer, which also had a significantly higher (p < 0,001) total number of microorganisms in their rumen than animals living in the agricultural area. Particularly in the cases of the “general bacteria”, the “archaea” and the “proteolytic alpha bacteria”, the number was significantly higher. In the forest roe deer there were significantly more bacteria of the “Fibrobacter” and “anaerobic fungi” genera for the digestion of raw fibre.

In the course of the year, the number of microorganisms important for the digestion of raw fibre were also highest for the forest roe deer in winter and for the roe deer from the agricultural area in the summer. This demonstrates the adaption of the microbiome to both habitat and season.

As the roe deer can obviously digest far higher proportions of fibre and also adapt to the higher proportion, it would be better to describe it as a “browser” or “selector” rather than a “concentrate selector”, as done in Germany and other parts in Europe.
In order to see whether the adaption is similar in other habitat types and to establish more detailed adaptation of the microbiome, this study is to be continued throughout Bavaria.

459075 pdf
1040AM pdf

Friday August 10, 2018 10:40am - 11:00am MDT
Assembly Hall A
  • Slides Available Yes

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