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Gut microbiota response to in vitro transit time variation is mediated by microbial growth rates, nutrient use efficiency and adaptation to in vivo transit time

  • Minnebo, Yorick;
  • Delbaere, Karen;
  • Goethals, Valerie;
  • Raes, Jeroen; 39804;
  • van de Wiele, Tom;
  • De Paepe, Kim;
Publication Date
Nov 06, 2023
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BACKGROUND: Transit time is an important modulator of the human gut microbiome. The inability to modify transit time as the sole variable hampers mechanistic in vivo microbiome research. We singled out gut transit time in an unprecedented in vitro approach by subjecting faecal microbial communities from six individuals with either short, medium or long in vivo transit times, to three different colonic transit times of 21, 32 and 63 h in the validated human gut in vitro model, SHIME. RESULTS: Transit time was identified as the single most important driver of microbial cell concentrations (52%), metabolic activity (45%) and quantitative (24%) and proportional (22%) community composition. Deceleration of transit was characterised by a significant decrease of specific Bifidobacterium and Veillonella spp. and increase of specific fibre degrading bacteria and nutrient specialists, such as Bacteroides, Prevotella, Ruminococcus, Bilophila and Akkermansia spp. These microbial communities reached a higher population density and net carbohydrate fermentation, leading to an increased SCFA production at longer transit times. In contrast, the carbohydrate-to-biomass production efficiency was increased at shorter transits, particularly in well-adapted faecal microbiomes from donors with short in vivo transit. Said adaptation was also reflected in the carbohydrate-to-SCFA conversion efficiency which varied with donor, but also colon region and SCFA chain length. A long transit time promoted propionate production, whereas butyrate production and butyrate producers were selectively enriched in the proximal colon at medium transit time. CONCLUSION: Microbial growth rates and nutrient utilisation efficiency mediate the species-specific gut microbiota response to in vitro transit time variation, which is the main driver of in vitro microbial load, metabolism and community composition. Given the in vivo transit time variation within and between individuals, the personalisation of in vitro transit time based on in vivo data is required to accurately study intra- and inter-individual differences in gut microbiome structure, functionality and interactions with host and environmental modulators. Video Abstract. / status: published

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