Lifestyle and the Environment Influence the Structure and Predicted Function of the Gut Microbiota in Nomadic Fulanis
Ayorinde Afolayan1, Funmilola Ayeni1*, and Christoph Hoegenauer1*
1Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria; 2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
The human gut microbiota plays a major role in the normal functioning of the human body. Lifestyle affects the gut microbiota. However, its contribution on the gut microbiota of vulnerable populations in Nigeria is relatively unknown. This study focused on the effect of nomadic lifestyle of the Fulanis on their gut microbiota.
Human faecal and environmental samples (soil and water) were obtained from nomadic Fulanis (Pabaman-shanu village, Plateau State; n = 28) and non-Fulanis (Lamingo, Jos n = 22). Bovine milk was obtained from the Fulanis. The DNA of all samples were extracted, followed by PCR amplification of the V4 region of 16S rRNA gene, library preparation, and sequencing with Illumina MiSeq. From the generated raw sequence reads, the gut microbiota of Fulanis and non-Fulanis were compared for diversity by QIIME, functional profile by PICRUSt, unique structural and predicted functional biomarkers by LEfSe, and relative abundance of predicted pathogens by BugBase.
The Fulanis had lower alpha diversity. Differential phyla include Bacteroidetes (Prevotella) in the Fulanis, and Firmicutes (Ruminococcus) in the non-Fulanis. Lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis, Vibrio cholerae pathogenic cycle, and Glutathione metabolism were enriched in the Fulanis, while methane metabolism and fructose and mannose metabolism were overrepresented in the non-Fulanis, suggesting the impact of dietary and hygiene habits on the gut microbiota. A higher abundance of potential gut pathogens were observed in the Fulani. Proteobacteria is more abundant in soil (53.3% versus 31.4% for non-Fulanis) and drinking water (94% versus 59% for non-Fulanis) from the Fulani community. The two sole phyla in milk are the Firmicutes (90%) and Proteobacteria (10%).
The reduced gut microbiota alpha diversity is a reflection of the Fulani's lifestyle, which increases vulnerability to diseases. Differential taxa and metabolic pathways could serve as potential markers for health risk of similar study groups.