Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version



Sidiropoulos et al. Animal Microbiome (2020) 2:16


The Author(s). 2020


Background: The gut microbiome harbors trillions of bacteria that play a major role in dietary nutrient extraction and host metabolism. Metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes are associated with shifts in microbiome composition and have been on the rise in Westernized or highly industrialized countries. At the same time, Westernized diets low in dietary fiber have been shown to cause loss of gut microbial diversity. However, the link between microbiome composition, loss of dietary fiber, and obesity has not been well defined.

Results: To study the interactions between gut microbiota, dietary fiber, and weight gain, we transplanted captive and wild douc gut microbiota into germ-free mice and then exposed them to either a high- or low-fiber diet. The group receiving captive douc microbiota gained significantly more weight, regardless of diet, while mice receiving a high-fiber diet and wild douc microbiota remained lean. In the presence of a low-fiber diet, the wild douc microbiota partially prevented weight gain. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing we identified key bacterial taxa in each group, specifically a high relative abundance of Bacteroides and Akkermansia in captive douc FMT mice and a higher relative abundance of Lactobacillus and Clostridium in the wild douc FMT mice.

Conclusions: In the context of our germ-free mouse experiment, wild douc microbiota could serve as a reservoir for microbes for cross-species transplants. Our results suggest that wild douc microbiota are tailored to diverse fiber diets and can prevent weight gain when exposed to a native diet.

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