The fungal microbiome in obese individuals

We hear mostly about the bacterial microbiome but there are other microbiomes out there like the virome (virus microbiome) and mycobiome (fungal microbiome). The mycobiome is an important part of the gastrointestinal tract and fungal microorganisms make up between .03-2% of the total microorganisms in the gut. A recent study out of Spain characterized the mycobiome of obese individuals and compared them to non-obese individuals.

The scientists used sequencing technologies to analyze the diversity of fungal organisms in the gut of 52 Caucasian individuals who were recruited for the study. After fecal sampling and sequencing, they found that diversity was lower in obese subjects than in non-obese subjects and they could be stratified depending on their mycobiome composition. Ascomycota and Basidiomycota were not significantly different between the two groups, however, the minor phylum Zygomycota was represented less in obese patients.

Interestingly, they found that the relative abundance of fungus in the Eurotiomycetes class of the Ascomycota phylum were similar between obese individuals and non-obese individuals but obese subjects with low levels of Eurotiomycetes had worse metabolic profiles. These subjects were identified as more “unhealthy” obese subjects than those with a higher abundance of Eurotiomycetes. 

This was the first study to look at the human mycobiome in relation to obesity and associated metabolic disorders. Further knowledge of these interactions between the mycobiome, microbiome, and metabolic disorders may elucidate new methods for treating obesity and metabolic syndromes.  

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