Determining whether associations between gut microbiota characteristics and host physiology represent causal relationships is a fundamental challenge for microbiome research. We report a detailed investigation of microbiome assembly inC57BL/6 germ-free mice across a period of 70 days and compare the effects of single and multiple rounds of gavage, using both native and antibiotic-disrupted murine donor material. Recipients of the native microbiota did not achieve compositional stability until day 28 and persistent differences to donor micro-biota remained until day 70. Performing multiple rounds of gavage significantly increased the cumulative number of detected taxa (mean increase: 10.4%) and compositional similarity to donor, and significantly reduced within-group variance (p < 0.05). Multiple rounds of gavage with antibiotic-disrupted microbiota provided no substantial benefit in relation to compositional similarity to donor or within-group variance. The process of donor microbiota establishment in recipient animals is necessary before experimentation commences and is considerably influenced by donor microbiota characteristics.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge Samay Trec and Mariah Turelli of the SAHMRI Preclinical Imaging Research Laboratories for their assistance in the germ-free facility. GBR is supported by a Matthew Flinders Research Fellowship and a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship ( GNT1155179 ).
© 2021 The Authors
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