High-throughput nucleotide sequence analysis of diverse bacterial communities in leachates of decomposing pig carcasses

Genet Mol Biol. 2015 Jul-Sep;38(3):373-80. doi: 10.1590/S1415-475738320140252. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

Abstract

The leachate generated by the decomposition of animal carcass has been implicated as an environmental contaminant surrounding the burial site. High-throughput nucleotide sequencing was conducted to investigate the bacterial communities in leachates from the decomposition of pig carcasses. We acquired 51,230 reads from six different samples (1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 14 week-old carcasses) and found that sequences representing the phylum Firmicutes predominated. The diversity of bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences in the leachate was the highest at 6 weeks, in contrast to those at 2 and 14 weeks. The relative abundance of Firmicutes was reduced, while the proportion of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria increased from 3-6 weeks. The representation of phyla was restored after 14 weeks. However, the community structures between the samples taken at 1-2 and 14 weeks differed at the bacterial classification level. The trend in pH was similar to the changes seen in bacterial communities, indicating that the pH of the leachate could be related to the shift in the microbial community. The results indicate that the composition of bacterial communities in leachates of decomposing pig carcasses shifted continuously during the study period and might be influenced by the burial site.

Keywords: bacterial community; decomposition; leachate; pig; pyrosequencing.