Applied and Environmental Microbiology
A DNA-based, direct method for initial characterization of the total bacterial community in ileum and cecum of the chicken gastrointestinal (GI) tract was developed. The efficiencies of bacterial extraction and lysis were >95 and >99%, respectively, and therefore the DNA recovered should accurately reflect the bacterial communities of the ileal and cecal digesta. Total bacterial DNA samples were fractionated according to their percent G+C content. The profiles reflecting the composition of the bacterial community were reproducible within each compartment, but different between the compartments of the GI tract. This approach is independent of the culturability of the bacteria in the consortium and can be used to improve our understanding of how diet and other variables modulate the microbial communities of the GI tracts of animals.