Important impacts of intestinal bacteria on utilization of dietary amino acids in pigs.
Bacteria in pig intestine can actively metabolize amino acids (AA). However, little research has focused on the variation in AA metabolism by bacteria from different niches. This study compared the metabolism of AA by microorganisms derived from the lumen and epithelial wall of the pig small intestine, aiming to test the hypothesis that the metabolic profile of AA by gut microbes was niche specific. Samples from the digesta, gut wall washes and gut wall of the jejunum and ileum were used as inocula. Anaerobic media containing single AA were used and cultured for 24 h. The 24-h culture served as inocula for the subsequent 30 times of subcultures. Results showed that for the luminal bacteria, all AA concentrations except phenylalanine in the ileum decreased during the 24-h in vitro incubation with a increase of ammonia concentration, while 4 AA (glutamate, glutamine, arginine and lysine) in the jejunum decreased, with the disappearance rate at 60-95 %. For tightly attached bacteria, all AA concentrations were generally increased during the first 12 h and then decreased coupled with first a decrease and then an increase of ammonia concentration, suggesting a synthesis first and then a catabolism pattern. Among them, glutamate in both segments, histidine in the jejunum and lysine in the ileum increased significantly during the first 12 h and then decreased at 24 h. The concentrations of glutamine and arginine did not change during the first 12 h, but significantly decreased at 24 h. Jejunal lysine and ileal threonine were increased for the first 6 or 12 h. For the loosely attached bacteria, there was no clear pattern for the entire AA metabolism. However, glutamate, methionine and lysine in the jejunum decreased after 24 h of cultivation, while glutamine and threonine in the jejunum and glutamine and lysine in the ileum increased in the first 12 h. During subculture, AA metabolism, either utilization or synthesis, was generally decreased with disappearance rate around 20-40 % for most of AA and negligible for branch chained AA (BCAA). However, the disappearance rate of lysine in each group was around 90 % throughout the subculture, suggesting a high utilization of lysine by bacteria from all three compartments. Analysis of the microbial community during the 24-h in vitro cultivation revealed that bacteria composition in most AA cultures varied between different niches (lumen and wall-adherent fractions) in the jejunum, while being relatively similar in the ileum. However, for isoleucine and leucine cultures, bacteria diversity was similar between the luminal fraction and tightly attached fraction, but significantly higher than in the loosely attached fraction. For glutamine and valine cultures, bacteria diversity was similar between the luminal and loosely attached fractions, but lower than that of tightly attached bacteria. After 30 subcultures, bacteria diversity in arginine, valine, glutamine, and leucine cultures varied between niches in the jejunum while being relatively stable in the ileum, consistent with those in the 24-h in vitro cultures. The findings may suggest that luminal bacteria tended to utilize free AA, while tightly attached adherent bacteria seemed in favor of AA synthesis, and that small intestinal microbes contributed little to BCAA metabolism.