Ruminants are completely dependent on their microbiota for feed digestion and consequently, their viability. It is therefore tempting to hypothesize a connection between the composition and abundance of resident rumen bacterial taxa and the physiological parameters of the host. Using a pyrosequencing approach, we characterized the rumen bacterial community composition in 15 dairy cows and their physiological parameters. We analyzed the degree of divergence between the different animals and found that some physiological parameters, such as milk yield and composition, are highly correlated with the abundance of various bacterial members of the rumen microbiome. One apparent finding was a strong correlation between the ratio of the phyla Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes and milk-fat yield. These findings paralleled human studies showing similar trends of increased adiposity with an increase in Bacteroidetes. This correlation remained evident at the genus level, where several genera showed correlations with the animals' physiological parameters. This suggests that the bacterial community has a role in shaping host physiological parameters. A deeper understanding of this process may allow us to modulate the rumen microbiome for better agricultural yield through bacterial community design.
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