Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Diversity, Composition, and Metabolic Pathways of Archaea in Pigs

Version 1 : Received: 22 February 2021 / Approved: 23 February 2021 / Online: 23 February 2021 (09:54:38 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: animals 2021, 11, 2139
DOI: 10.3390/ani11072139


Archaea are an essential class of gut microorganisms in humans and animals. Despite the substantial progress in gut microbiome research in the last decade, most studies have focused on bacteria, and little is known about archaea in mammals. In this study, we investigated the composition, diversity, and functional potential of gut archaeal communities in pigs by re-analyzing a published metagenomic dataset including a total of 276 fecal samples from three countries: China (n=76), Denmark (n=100), and France (n=100). For alpha diversity (Shannon Index) of the archaeal communities, Chinese pigs were less diverse than Danish and French pigs (P<0.001). Consistently, Chinese pigs also possessed different archaeal community structures from the other two groups based on the Bray-Curtis distance matrix. Methanobrevibacter was the most dominant archaeal genus in Chinese pigs (44.94%) and French pigs (15.41%), while Candidatus Methanomethylophilus was the most predominant in Danish pigs (15.71%). At the species level, the relative abundance of Candidatus Methanomethylophilus alvus, Natrialbaceae archaeon XQ INN 246, and Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii were greatest in Danish, French, and Chinese pigs with a relative abundance of 14.32%, 11.67%, and 16.28%, respectively. In terms of metabolic potential, the top three pathways in the archaeal communities included the MetaCyc pathway related to the biosynthesis of L-valine, L-isoleucine, and isobutanol. Interestingly, the pathway related to hydrogen consumption (METHANOGENESIS-PWY) was only observed in archaeal reads, while the pathways participating in hydrogen production (FERMENTATION-PWY and PWY4LZ-257) were only detected in bacterial reads. Archaeal communities also possessed CAZyme gene families, with the top five being: AA3, GH43, GT2, AA6, and CE9. In terms of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), the class of multidrug resistance was the most abundant ARG, accounting for 87.41% of archaeal ARG hits. Our study reveals the diverse composition and metabolic functions of archaea in pigs, suggesting that archaea might play important roles in swine nutrition and metabolism.


Swine; Archaea; Energy Metabolism; CAZyme genes; ARGs


BIOLOGY, Anatomy & Morphology

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