Complementarity between microhistological analysis and PCR-capillary electrophoresis in diet analysis of goats and cattle using faecal samples

Javier Pareja, C. Espunya, E. Baraza, J. Bartolomé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

An evaluation is made of the complementarity between two non-invasive techniques, cuticle microhistological analysis (CMA) and PCR-capillary electrophoresis (PCR-CE) DNA-based analysis, for the determination of herbivore diet composition from faecal samples. Cuticle microhistological analysis is based on the different microanatomical characteristics of the epidermal fragments remaining in the faeces. The PCR-CE technique combines PCR amplification of a trnL(UAA) genomic DNA region with amplicon length determination by CE, with this length being characteristic for each species or taxon. A total of 37 fresh stool samples were analyzed, including 16 from feral goats (Capra hircus) from the Tramuntana mountain range (Mallorca, Baleares) and 11 from Bruna dels Pirineus cattle breed (Bos taurus) from the surrounding Montserrat mountain range (Barcelona, Spain). All the animals were in a free grazing Mediterranean pine habitat, dominated by Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis). The results showed that both techniques detected a similar number of plant components in the faeces of goats and cows. In the case of goats, a positive correlation was obtained between the percentage of samples in which a particular taxon is detected by CMA and the percentage of samples in which that taxon is detected by PCR-CE. This correlation was not observed in the case of cows. It is concluded that PCR-CE is a fast and reliable method to detect the different plant components in the faeces of herbivores. However, it cannot be considered as an alternative to CMA, but as a complementary method, since both techniques can detect some taxa that are not detected by the other technique. In addition, CMA detected the presence of the different taxa in a greater number of samples, and at the same time, it enables quantitative data to be obtained for plant diet composition. The species of herbivore also seems to influence the results obtained by PCR-CE, so more studies are required to address this aspect. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The Animal Consortium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100145
Pages (from-to)100145
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Bos taurus
  • Capra hircus
  • Faecal analysis
  • Free grazing
  • Plant epidermis
  • Diet/veterinary
  • Goats
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary/veterinary
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction/veterinary
  • West Indies
  • Plant Breeding
  • Spain
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Feces

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