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Use of PCR-DGGE to characterize the distribution of bacterial populations in feces of reticulated giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)

The gastrointestinal microbiota play a vital role in overall health of people and animals by helping break down and digest food, producing vitamins and hormones, training the immune system and preventing pathogenic bacterial overgrowth. Little is known, however, about the ecology of microbiota of large exotic herbivores and basic questions need to be answered. The objectives of this study were to evaluate whether bacterial populations are evenly distributed throughout fecal excretions in three exotic herbivore species and to compare the

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