Published 2009

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Publication details

Journal : PLOS ONE , vol. 4 , p. 1–10–10 , 2009

International Standard Numbers :
Printed : 1932-6203
Electronic : 1932-6203

Publication type : Academic article

Contributors : Rudi, Knut; Ødegård, Kristin; Løkken, Tine Therese; Wilson, Robert

Issue : 10

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BACKGROUND: The distribution pattern of the earthworm gut microbiota at the host population level is of fundamental importance to understand host-microbiota interactions. Our current understanding of these interactions is very limited. Since feeding represents a main perturbation of the gut microbiota, we determined the effect of a single dose of feed on the microbiota associated with an earthworm population in a simulated microenvironment. METHODOLOGY: Earthworms were sampled 0, 1 and 7 days after feeding. We determined the overall composition of the earthworm-associated microbiota by 16S rRNA gene cloning and sequencing. Based on the 16S rRNA gene data we constructed quantitative PCR's (Q-PCR) for the seven most dominating bacterial groups. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Q-PCR revealed low density and highly variable microbiota among the earthworms before feeding, while a high-density homologous microbiota resulted from feeding. We found that the microbiota 1 day after feeding was more equal to the microbiota after 7 days than before feeding. Furthermore, we found that the gut microbiota was very distinct from that of the bedding and the feed. SIGNIFICANCE: The homogenous population response represents fundamental new knowledge about earthworm gut associated bacteria.