Gut microbial dynamics during conventionalization of germfree chicken.
A gnotobiotic Gallus gallus (chicken) model was developed to study the dynamics of intestinal microflora from hatching to 18 days of age employing metagenomics. Intestinal samples were collected from a local population of feral chickens and administered orally to germfree 3-day-old chicks. Animals were euthanized on days 9 and 18 postinoculation, and intestinal samples were collected and subjected to metagenomic analysis. On day 18, the five most prevalent phyla were Bacteroidetes (43.03±3.19%), Firmicutes (38.51±2.67%), Actinobacteria (6.77±0.7%), Proteobacteria (6.38±0.7%), and Spirochaetes (2.71±0.55%). Principal-coordinate analysis showed that the day 18 variables clustered more closely than the day 9 variables, suggesting that the microbial communities had changed temporally. The Morista-Horn index values ranged from 0.7 to 1, indicating that the communities in the inoculum and in the day 9 and day 18 samples were more similar than dissimilar. The predicted functional profiles of the microbiomes of the inoculum and the day 9 and day 18 samples were also similar (values of 0.98 to 1). These results indicate that the gnotobiotic chicks stably maintained the phylogenetic diversity and predicted metabolic functionality of the inoculum community.