Microbial enterotypes, inferred by the prevotella-to-bacteroides ratio, remained stable during a 6-month randomized controlled diet intervention with the new nordic diet

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Feb;80(3):1142-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.03549-13. Epub 2013 Dec 2.


It has been suggested that the human gut microbiota can be divided into enterotypes based on the abundance of specific bacterial groups; however, the biological significance and stability of these enterotypes remain unresolved. Here, we demonstrated that subjects (n = 62) 18 to 65 years old with central obesity and components of metabolic syndrome could be grouped into two discrete groups simply by their relative abundance of Prevotella spp. divided by Bacteroides spp. (P/B ratio) obtained by quantitative PCR analysis. Furthermore, we showed that these groups remained stable during a 6-month, controlled dietary intervention, where the effect of consuming a diet in accord with the new Nordic diet (NND) recommendations as opposed to consuming the average Danish diet (ADD) on the gut microbiota was investigated. In this study, subjects (with and without stratification according to P/B ratio) did not reveal significant changes in 35 selected bacterial taxa quantified by quantitative PCR (ADD compared to NND) resulting from the dietary interventions. However, we found higher total plasma cholesterol within the high-P/B group than in the low-P/B group after the intervention. We propose that stratification of humans based simply on their P/B ratio could allow better assessment of possible effects of interventions on the gut microbiota and physiological biomarkers.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteroides / isolation & purification*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet / methods*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Metagenome
  • Plasma / chemistry
  • Prevotella / isolation & purification*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Cholesterol