Dietary Protein Quality Affects the Interplay between Gut Microbiota and Host Performance in Nile Tilapia


Gabriella do Vale PereiraCarla Teixeira, José Couto, Jorge Dias, Paulo Rema, Ana Teresa Gonçalves

Dietary protein quality plays a key role in maintaining intestinal mucosal integrity, but also modulates the growth of luminal microorganisms. This work assessed the effect of dietary protein sources on the performance, gut morphology, and microbiome in Nile tilapia. Four isonitrogenous and isolipidic diets comprising equivalent amounts of the protein supply derived from either PLANT, ANIMAL, INSECT, or BACTERIAL (bacterial biomass) sources were fed to triplicate groups of fish (IBW: 12 g) for 46 days. Fish fed the ANIMAL and BACTERIAL diets showed significantly higher weight gains than those fed the PLANT and INSECT diets (p < 0.05). Relative abundance at the phylum level showed that Bacteroidetes, Fusobacteria, and Proteobacteria were the more abundant phyla in tilapia’s intestine, while Cetobacterium was the most representative genus in all treatments. Interesting patterns were observed in the correlation between amino acid intake and genus and species abundance. Metabolism prediction analysis showed that BACTERIAL amine and polyamine degradation pathways are modulated depending on diets. In conclusion, different protein sources modulate the relationship between bacteria functional pathways and amino acid intake.

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