La Trobe

File(s) stored somewhere else

Please note: Linked content is NOT stored on La Trobe and we can't guarantee its availability, quality, security or accept any liability.

A pioneer calf foetus microbiome

journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-10, 00:45 authored by CE Guzman, Jennifer WoodJennifer Wood, Eleonora Egidi, Alison C White-Monsant, Lucie Semenec, Sylvia GrommenSylvia Grommen, Elisa L Hill-Yardin, Bert De GroefBert De Groef, Ashley FranksAshley Franks
© 2020, The Author(s). Foetus sterility until parturition is under debate due to reports of microorganisms in the foetal environment and meconium. Sufficient controls to overcome sample contamination and provide direct evidence of microorganism viability in the pre-rectal gastrointestinal tract (GIT) have been lacking. We conducted molecular and culture-based analyses to investigate the presence of a microbiome in the foetal GIT of calves at 5, 6 and 7 months gestation, while controlling for contamination. The 5 components of the GIT (ruminal fluid, ruminal tissue, caecal fluid, caecal tissue and meconium) and amniotic fluid were found to contain a pioneer microbiome of distinct bacterial and archaeal communities. Bacterial and archaeal richness varied between GIT components. The dominant bacterial phyla in amniotic fluid differed to those in ruminal and caecal fluids and meconium. The lowest bacterial and archaeal abundances were associated with ruminal tissues. Viable bacteria unique to the ruminal fluids, which were not found in the controls from 5, 6 and 7 months gestation, were cultured, subcultured, sequenced and identified. We report that the foetal GIT is not sterile but is spatially colonised before birth by a pioneer microbiome.


Australian Research Council | LP140100459

RMIT University | Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellowship

Australian Research Council | FT160100126

Office of Naval Research Global | N626909-13-1-N259

Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development | FA2386-14-1-4032

School of Life Sciences La Trobe University | Publ


Publication Date



Scientific Reports





Article Number





Nature Publishing Group



Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

Usage metrics