Plant and Fungal Diversity in Gut Microbiota as Revealed by Molecular and Culture InvestigationsReport as inadecuate

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Few studies describing eukaryotic communities in the human gut microbiota have been published. The objective of this study was to investigate comprehensively the repertoire of plant and fungal species in the gut microbiota of an obese patient.

Methodology-Principal Findings

A stool specimen was collected from a 27-year-old Caucasian woman with a body mass index of 48.9 who was living in Marseille, France. Plant and fungal species were identified using a PCR-based method incorporating 25 primer pairs specific for each eukaryotic phylum and universal eukaryotic primers targeting 18S rRNA, internal transcribed spacer ITS and a chloroplast gene. The PCR products amplified using these primers were cloned and sequenced. Three different culture media were used to isolate fungi, and these cultured fungi were further identified by ITS sequencing. A total of 37 eukaryotic species were identified, including a Diatoms Blastocystis sp. species, 18 plant species from the Streptophyta phylum and 18 fungal species from the Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Chytridiocomycota phyla. Cultures yielded 16 fungal species, while PCR-sequencing identified 7 fungal species. Of these 7 species of fungi, 5 were also identified by culture. Twenty-one eukaryotic species were discovered for the first time in human gut microbiota, including 8 fungi Aspergillus flavipes, Beauveria bassiana, Isaria farinosa, Penicillium brevicompactum, Penicillium dipodomyicola, Penicillium camemberti, Climacocystis sp. and Malassezia restricta. Many fungal species apparently originated from food, as did 11 plant species. However, four plant species Atractylodes japonica, Fibraurea tinctoria, Angelica anomala, Mitella nuda are used as medicinal plants.


Investigating the eukaryotic components of gut microbiota may help us to understand their role in human health.

Author: Nina Gouba, Didier Raoult, Michel Drancourt



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