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Keywords:

  • Human;
  • ileum;
  • colon;
  • mucosal bacteria;
  • 16S rDNA sequences;
  • molecular;
  • microbial ecology

Abstract

Aim:

The aim of this study was to characterize the bacterial community adhering to the mucosa of the terminal ileum, and proximal and distal colon of the human digestive tract.

Methods and Results: Pinch samples of the terminal ileum, proximal and distal colon were taken from a healthy 35-year-old, and a 68-year-old subject with mild diverticulosis. The 16S rDNA genes were amplified using a low number of PCR cycles, cloned, and sequenced. In total, 361 sequences were obtained comprising 70 operational taxonomic units (OTU), with a calculated coverage of 82·6%. Twenty-three per cent of OTU were common to the terminal ileum, proximal colon and distal colon, but 14% OTU were only found in the terminal ileum, and 43% were only associated with the proximal or distal colon. The most frequently represented clones were from the Clostridium group XIVa (24·7%), and the Bacteroidetes (Cytophaga-Flavobacteria-Bacteroides) cluster (27·7%).

Conclusion: Comparison of 16S rDNA clone libraries of the hindgut across mammalian species confirms that the distribution of phylogenetic groups is similar irrespective of the host species. Lesser site-related differences within groups or clusters of organisms, are probable.

Significance and Impact: This study provides further evidence of the distribution of the bacteria on the mucosal surfaces of the human hindgut. Data contribute to the benchmarking of the microbial composition of the human digestive tract.