Exploring the Prokaryotic Community Associated With the Rumen Ciliate Protozoa Population

Bar Levy, Elie Jami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Ciliate protozoa are an integral part of the rumen microbiome and were found to exert a large effect on the rumen ecosystem itself as well as their host animal physiology. Part of these effects have been attributed to their ability to harbor a diverse ecto- and endo-symbiotic community of prokaryotic cells. Studies on the relationship between the protozoa population and their associated prokaryotic community in the rumen mainly focused on the methanogens, revealing that protozoa play a major role in enhancing methanogenesis potential. In contrast, little is known about the composition and function of the bacteria associated with rumen protozoa and the extent of this association. In this study, we characterize the prokaryotic communities associated with different protozoa populations and compare their structure to the free-living prokaryotic population residing in the cow rumen. We show that the overall protozoa associated prokaryotic community structure differs significantly compared to the free-living community in terms of richness and composition. The methanogens proportion was significantly higher in all protozoa populations compared to the free-living fraction, while the Lachnospiraceae was the most prevalent bacterial family in the protozoa associated bacterial communities. Several taxa not detected or detected in extremely low abundance in the free-living community were enriched in the protozoa associated bacterial community. These include members of the Endomicrobia class, previously identified as protozoa symbionts in the termite gut. Our results show that rumen protozoa harbor prokaryotic communities that are compositionally different from their surroundings, which may be the result of specific tropism between the prokaryotic community and protozoa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2526
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - 29 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ciliate protozoa
  • endomicrobia
  • methanogenic archaea
  • microbiome
  • rumen
  • symbionts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring the Prokaryotic Community Associated With the Rumen Ciliate Protozoa Population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this