The gut microbiome is widely studied by fecal sampling, but the extent to which stool reflects the commensal composition at intestinal sites is poorly understood. We investigated this relationship in rhesus macaques by 16S sequencing feces and paired lumenal and mucosal samples from ten sites distal to the jejunum. Stool composition correlated highly with the colonic lumen and mucosa and moderately with the distal small intestine. The mucosal microbiota varied most based on location and was enriched in oxygen-tolerant taxa (e.g., Helicobacter and Treponema), while the lumenal microbiota showed inter-individual variation and obligate anaerobe enrichment (e.g., Firmicutes). This mucosal and lumenal community variability corresponded to functional differences, such as nutrient availability. Additionally, Helicobacter, Faecalibacterium, and Lactobacillus levels in stool were highly predictive of their abundance at most other gut sites. These results quantify the composition and biogeographic relationships between gut microbial communities in macaques and support fecal sampling for translational studies.
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