Background: Phenotypic variability for productive and meat quality traits has been largely studied in Iberian pigs, especially in genetic selection and nutritional experiments. Complex interactions among genetic background, diet composition and gut microbiota difficult the evaluation of true effects of each factor on phenotypes. In order to disentangle these interactions, we evaluated changes in gut microbiota composition comparing Iberian and Duroc pigs fed diets with different energy source.
Results: Gut microbiota composition was analysed in feces from 48 pigs (Iberian and Duroc) fed a standard diet or a sunflower oil-enriched diet with high oleic acid content (6%). A higher richness was observed for Iberian pigs (p < 0.05) and compositional analysis was applied for beta-diversity, differential abundance and pairwise log-ratio analyses. We found significant differences in overall microbiota composition between breeds, and also between diets inside breeds, to a lesser extent. Differential abundance analysis revealed that Duroc animals have more proportion of Actinobacteria and Prevotella, while Iberian replace those microorganisms with other more variable taxa. According to dietary differences, high-oleic fed animals were richer in Prevotella. We also found microbial ratios capable of separating animals by breeds and diets, mostly related to Actinobacteria.
Conclusion: This study reveals that both genetic background and diet composition might have a relevant impact in gut microbiota composition. The application of compositional data analysis has facilitated the identification of microorganisms and ratios as possibly related to metabolic changes due to genetic background and, to a lower extent, to dietary changes. This may lead to a relevant progress in the knowledge of interactions between pig genetics, environment and gut microbiota.