Although it is well documented that the gut microbiota plays an important role in health and disease in mammalian species, this area has been poorly studied among carnivorous animals, especially within the mustelidae family. The gastrointestinal tract of carnivores is characterized by its short length and fast transit time, as compared to omnivores and herbivores, which is due to the low level of inherent fermentation. Mink represents an example of this, which have a GI tract only four times the length of the body and a transit time of approximately 4–5 hr. In this study, we used high-throughput 16S rRNA gene sequencing to explore the resident gut microbiota of the mink in terms of intra-and interindividual diversity. We report, for the first time, that the mucosa-associated bacterial community within the colon is diverse and dissimilar from the community found in the feed. We found large interindividual differences in bacterial composition between individual animals being dominated generally by the phylum Firmicutes, but in some cases also Proteobacteria or Fusobacteria. The bacterial load and community structure within the mucus was not severely impacted by 3 days of fasting, which implies that a resident and stable microbiota is hosted by these animals.
- Neovision vision