Pyrosequencing analysis of intestinal microflora from healthy Thai vegetarians and non-vegetarians exhibited 893 OTUs covering 189 species. The strong species indicators of vegetarians and non-vegetarians were Prevotella copri and Bacteroides vulgatus as well as bacteria close to Escherichia hermanii with % relative abundance of 16.9 and 4.5-4.7, respectively. Core gut microbiota of the vegetarian and non-vegetarian groups consisted of 11 and 20 different bacterial species, respectively, belonging to Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria commonly found in both groups. Two species, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Gemmiger formicilis, had a prevalence of 100% in both groups. Three species, Clostridium nexile, Eubacterium eligens, and P. copri, showed up in most vegetarians, whereas more diversity of Collinsella aerofaciens, Ruminococcus torques, various species of Bacteroides, Parabacteroides, Escherichia, and different species of Clostridium and Eubacterium were found in most non-vegetarians. Considering the correlation of personal characters, consumption behavior, and microbial groups, the age of non-vegetarians showed a strong positive correlation coefficient of 0.54 (p = 0.001) to Bacteroides uniformis but exhibited a moderate one to Alistipes finegoldii and B. vulgatus. Only a positive moderate correlation of body mass index and Parabacteroides distasonis appeared. Based on the significant abundance of potential pathogens, the microbiota of the non-vegetarian group showed an abundance of potential pathogen varieties of Bilophila wadsworthia, Escherichia coli, and E. hermannii, whereas that of the vegetarian group served for only Klebsiella pneumoniae. These results implied that the microbiota of vegetarians with high abundance of P. copri and low potential pathogen variety would be a way to maintain good health in Thais.
Keywords: Enterobacteriaceae; Fecal microbiota; Prevotella; core gut microbiota; pathogen risk; pyrosequencing.