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Diets With and Without Edible Cricket Support a Similar Level of Diversity in the Gut Microbiome of Dogs

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Diets With and Without Edible Cricket Support a Similar Level of Diversity in the Gut Microbiome of Dogs

Jessica K Jarett et al. PeerJ.

Abstract

The gut microbiome plays an important role in the health of dogs. Both beneficial microbes and overall diversity can be modulated by diet. Fermentable sources of fiber in particular often increase the abundance of beneficial microbes. Banded crickets (Gryllodes sigillatus) contain the fermentable polysaccharides chitin and chitosan. In addition, crickets are an environmentally sustainable protein source. Considering crickets as a potential source of both novel protein and novel fiber for dogs, four diets ranging from 0% to 24% cricket content were fed to determine their effects on healthy dogs' (n = 32) gut microbiomes. Fecal samples were collected serially at 0, 14, and 29 days, and processed using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene PCR amplicons. Microbiomes were generally very similar across all diets at both the phylum and genus level, and alpha and beta diversities did not differ between the various diets at 29 days. A total of 12 ASVs (amplicon sequence variants) from nine genera significantly changed in abundance following the addition of cricket, often in a dose-response fashion with increasing amounts of cricket. A net increase was observed in Catenibacterium, Lachnospiraceae [Ruminococcus], and Faecalitalea, whereas Bacteroides, Faecalibacterium, Lachnospiracaeae NK4A136 group and others decreased in abundance. Similar changes in Catenibacterium and Bacteroides have been associated with gut health benefits in other studies. However, the total magnitude of all changes was small and only a few specific taxa changed in abundance. Overall, we found that diets containing cricket supported the same level of gut microbiome diversity as a standard healthy balanced diet. These results support crickets as a potential healthy, novel food ingredient for dogs.

Keywords: Diet; Dog; Edible cricket; Gut microbiome; Prebiotic.

Conflict of interest statement

Anne Carlson is the founder and CEO of Jiminy’s, a company that makes dog treats and foods containing edible cricket. Holly H. Ganz and Jessica K. Jarett are employees of AnimalBiome, a company that performs gut microbiome testing for cats and dogs. Jessica Strickland and Laurie Serfilippi are both employed by Summit Ridge Farms.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1. Bacterial community composition at the genus level in dogs eating control diets and diets containing cricket is similar.
Genus-level composition of gut microbiomes in dogs consuming diets containing different amounts of cricket meal, averaged across eight dogs per diet and sampled longitudinally at (A) day 0, (B) day 14, and (C) day 29. Only the 15 most abundant genera are shown.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Alpha diversity is similar in dogs eating control diets and diets containing cricket.
Shannon diversity of gut microbiomes of dogs consuming diets containing (A) 0% cricket meal, (B) 8% cricket meal, (C) 16% cricket meal, or (D) 24% cricket meal, averaged across eight dogs per diet and sampled longitudinally over the course of 29 days.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Beta diversity of bacterial communities in dogs eating control diets and diets containing cricket does not differ.
Principal coordinates analysis of Bray–Curtis dissimilarity of gut microbiomes of dogs consuming diets containing different amounts of cricket meal, sampled longitudinally over the course of 29 days.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Three ASVs differ in abundance between dogs eating control diets and diets containing cricket.
Relative abundance at day 29 of ASVs identified by feature-volatility from q2-longitudinal: (A) Catenibacterium sp. 2, (B) Catenibacterium sp. 1, and (C) [Ruminococcus] torques sp. Significant differences between diets are indicated with an asterisk (Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, P ≤ 0.05, q ≤ 0.1). Numbers denote different ASVs from the same genus and are arbitrary.
Figure 5
Figure 5. Nine ASVs differ in both relative occurrence and abundance between dogs eating control diets and diets containing cricket.
Relative abundance at day 29 of ASVs with at least 30% DIROM and significant differences between control diet and all cricket diets combined (Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, P ≤ 0.05, q ≤0.1). ASVs shown are (A) Bacteroides sp. 1, (B) Bacteroides sp. 2, (C) Candidatus Arthromitus sp., (D) Catenibacterium sp. 3, (E) Collinsella sp., (F) Faecalibacterium sp., (G) Faecalitalea sp., (H) Lachnospiraceae NKA136 group sp., (I) Megamonas sp. Numbers denote different ASVs from the same genus and are arbitrary.

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Grant support

Jiminy’s provided financial support for costs related to the diet trial, AnimalBiome provided financial support for sequence data analysis, and both companies provided financial support for sequencing. Anne Carlson of Jiminy’s and Jessica Strickland designed the study protocol. Jiminy’s and AnimalBiome decided to prepare and publish a manuscript, and AnimalBiome employees analyzed the data and prepared the manuscript. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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