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Use and modulation of the gut microbiome of pigs to increase efficiency of energy conversion and meat production

Grant number: 17/15582-6
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: June 01, 2019 - June 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Alan Trindade Branco
Grantee:Alan Trindade Branco
Host Company:Genobiomas Biotecnologia Ltda
CNAE: Criação de suínos
Pesquisa e desenvolvimento experimental em ciências físicas e naturais
City: São Paulo
Associated researchers:Flávio de Oliveira Francisco
Associated scholarship(s):19/14258-6 - Use and modulation of the gut microbiome of pigs to increase efficiency of energy conversion and meat production, BP.PIPE


The bacteria that colonize our bodies are essential for life. The microbiome of an individual influences its nutrition, protects against pathogens, improves the immune system and affects, directly or indirectly, most of the physiological functions of the host. Some microbe communities can determine how someone responds to a specific drug treatment and even influence the regulation of behavior. Recently, several studies have confirmed that the microbiome in obeses is constituted by specific bacteria that are essential for the maintenance of this phenotype. This pattern is determined by feeding habits and host genetic profile, conditions that select bacterial strains with high capacity to recover energy from food, generating additional energy availability and an increase in fat accumulation. Surprisingly, obesity-prone animals undergoing fecal transplant with material from healthy animals regain their normal metabolism. Similarly, healthy animals that receive microbiological "implantation" from obese animals acquire the predisposition to gain weight. These results indicate that the metabolic profile of an individual is dependent on the microbiome, and the host microbiome can be manipulated through the transplantation of bacterial communities. Although weight gain is undesirable for humans, this is a relevant feature for meat production. Thus, the ability of the gut microbiome of obese individuals provide additional calories to a normal diet, the development of a product from this microbial consortium focused on livestock has a high commercial potential. Thus, using the plasticity observed for microbiomes, this project aims to evaluate the hypothesis that the transplantation of microbiota from one obese animal to another in the fattening phase will increase the feed conversion efficiency of the recipient animals and, consequently, a reduction in costs for the production of meat. We intend to use pigs as an animal model, since they are easy to handle, can be kept in confinement, and they have a diet and a digestive system (monogastric) similar to the animals used in previous studies of microbiota transplantation. In addition, swine farming is highly relevant to the country's economy, moving almost R$ 150 billion in 2015. Brazil is the fourth largest producer of pork in the world, exporting this meat to around 70 countries. For this project, white pigs will be fattened with a super caloric diet. When these animals become obese, they will be sacrificed and their cecum will be transplanted into "normal" animals. The animals that received the microbiome from obese animals are expected to gain weight more quickly than animals that did not receive (control group). The identification of the microbial community of the donor, recipient and control animals will be performed through the next generation sequencing of the 16S ribosomal gene. This study will open the prospect for the future development of an inoculum containing a consortium of bacteria capable of increasing feed conversion rates of any meat-breeding animals and possibly milk. (AU)

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