Rice- or pork-based diets with similar calorie and content result in different rat gut microbiota

Rice is the most important food crop, and pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world. In this study, we compared the gut microbiota of the rats fed with rice or pork mixed diets, which have similar caloric contents. The physiological indices (body weights, hematology, serum chemistry, organ weights and histopathology) of two groups were all within the normal range. Two diets did not induce difference in the diversity of gut bacteria. However, Firmicutes were significantly higher in rice diet group, while Bacteroidetes were enriched in pork diet group. Butyrate and the bacteria enzymes β-glucuronidase, β-glucosidase and nitroreductase in the feces were all drastically higher in pork diet group. This study indicates that different diets with similar calorie and nutritional composition could change the community structure but not the diversity of rat fecal microbiota.