Effects of dietary fiber on the feline gastrointestinal metagenome.
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Four healthy adult cats were used in a crossover design to determine phylogeny and metabolic functional capacity of the cat's gastrointestinal microbiota using a metagenomic approach. Healthy adult cats (1.7 years old) were fed diets containing 4% cellulose, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), or pectin for 30 d, at which time fresh fecal samples were collected. Fecal DNA samples from each cat consuming each diet were subjected to 454 pyrosequencing. Dominant phyla determined using two independent databases (MG-RAST and IMG/M) included Firmicutes (mean=36.3 and 49.8%, respectively), Bacteroidetes (mean=36.1 and 24.1%, respectively), and Proteobacteria (mean=12.4 and 11.1%, respectively). Primary functional categories as determined by KEGG were associated with carbohydrates, clustering-based subsystems, protein metabolism, and amino acids and derivatives. Primary functional categories as determined by COG were associated with amino acid metabolism and transport, general function prediction only, and carbohydrate transport and metabolism. Analysis of carbohydrate-active enzymes revealed modifications in several glycoside hydrolases, glycosyl transferases, and carbohydrate-binding molecules with FOS and pectin consumption. While the cat is an obligate carnivore, its gut microbiome is similar regarding microbial phylogeny and gene content to omnivores.