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Culturomics and pyrosequencing evidence of the reduction in gut microbiota diversity in patients with broad-spectrum antibiotics

Elsevier B.V.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2014.04.020
  • Culturomics
  • Microbiota
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Antibiotics
  • Diversity
  • Biology
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine


Abstract The human gut flora is currently widely characterised using molecular techniques. Microbial culturomics (large-scale culture conditions with identification of colonies using MALDI-TOF or 16S rRNA) is part of the rebirth of bacterial culture that was initiated by environmental microbiologists for the design of axenic culture for intracellular bacteria in clinical microbiology. Culturomics was performed on four stool samples from patients treated with large-scale antibiotics to assess the diversity of their gut flora in comparison with other culture-dependent studies. Pyrosequencing of the V6 region was also performed and was compared with a control group. Gut richness was also estimated by bacterial counting after microscopic observation. In total, 77 culture conditions were tested and 32,000 different colonies were generated; 190 bacterial species were identified, with 9 species that had not been isolated from the human gut before this study, 7 newly described in humans and 8 completely new species. A dramatic reduction in diversity was observed for two of the four stool samples for which antibiotic treatment was prolonged and uninterrupted. The total number of bacteria was generally preserved, suggesting that the original population was replaced but was sustained in size. Discordances between culture and pyrosequencing biodiversity biomarkers highlight the depth of bias of molecular studies. Stool samples studied showed a dramatic reduction in bacterial diversity. Considering the variable antibiotic concentration in the gut, this reduction in the number of species is possibly linked to the production of bacteriocin in the upper digestive tract by specific bacteria, such as Lactobacillus spp.

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