Molecular Biology Reports (2011)

DOI: 10.1007/s11033-011-1375-0


The aim of this study was to determine the bacteria present in the fecal material of the endangered Yangtze finless porpoise, Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis. Fecal samples were collected from 12 Yangtze finless porpoises living in the wild at Poyang Lake, located in Jiangxi Province, China. To determine the bacterial diversity, a 16S rRNA gene clone library using the bacterial PCR primers fD1 and rP2, was prepared. A total of 138 near-full-length sequences were analyzed and 39 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified. Sequences showing ≥97% similarity were grouped together as an OTU. Six different phyla were identified in which 38 OTUs were classified. Most of the OTUs contained sequences belonged to the phylum Firmicutes (51.3%), followed by Tenericutes (17.9%), Proteobacteria (15.4%), Actinobacteria (7.7%), Deinococcus-Thermus (2.6%) and Cyanobacteria (2.6%). A phylum could not be assigned for one clone within one OTU (2.6%). It appears that the Yangtze finless porpoise has a more diverse range of bacteria compared to other aquatic mammals, such as seals.