Concentration and chemical form of dietary zinc shape the porcine colon microbiome, its functional capacity and antibiotic resistance gene repertoire.

Robert Pieper, Temesgen H Dadi, Laura Pieper, Wilfried Vahjen, André Franke, Knut Reinert, Jürgen Zentek
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The ISME journal
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Despite a well-documented effect of high dietary zinc oxide on the pig intestinal microbiota composition less is it yet known about changes in microbial functional properties or the effect of organic zinc sources. Forty weaning piglets in four groups were fed diets supplemented with 40 or 110 ppm zinc as zinc oxide, 110 ppm as Zn-Lysinate, or 2500 ppm as zinc oxide. Host zinc homeostasis, intestinal zinc fractions, and ileal nutrient digestibility were determined as main nutritional and physiological factors putatively driving colon microbial ecology. Metagenomic sequencing of colon microbiota revealed only clear differences at genus level for the group receiving 2500 ppm zinc oxide. However, a clear group differentiation according to dietary zinc concentration and source was observed at species level. Functional analysis revealed significant differences in genes related to stress response, mineral, and carbohydrate metabolism. Taxonomic and functional gene differences were accompanied with clear effects in microbial metabolite concentration. Finally, a selection of certain antibiotic resistance genes by dietary zinc was observed. This study sheds further light onto the consequences of concentration and chemical form of dietary zinc on microbial ecology measures and the resistome in the porcine colon.