Fecal metabolome of the Hadza hunter-gatherers: a host-microbiome integrative view

Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 14:6:32826. doi: 10.1038/srep32826.


The recent characterization of the gut microbiome of traditional rural and foraging societies allowed us to appreciate the essential co-adaptive role of the microbiome in complementing our physiology, opening up significant questions on how the microbiota changes that have occurred in industrialized urban populations may have altered the microbiota-host co-metabolic network, contributing to the growing list of Western diseases. Here, we applied a targeted metabolomics approach to profile the fecal metabolome of the Hadza of Tanzania, one of the world's few remaining foraging populations, and compared them to the profiles of urban living Italians, as representative of people in the post-industrialized West. Data analysis shows that during the rainy season, when the diet is primarily plant-based, Hadza are characterized by a distinctive enrichment in hexoses, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and acylcarnitines, while deplete in the most common natural amino acids and derivatives. Complementary to the documented unique metagenomic features of their gut microbiome, our findings on the Hadza metabolome lend support to the notion of an alternate microbiome configuration befitting of a nomadic forager lifestyle, which helps maintain metabolic homeostasis through an overall scarcity of inflammatory factors, which are instead highly represented in the Italian metabolome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet
  • Ecosystem
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Life Style
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Tanzania
  • Young Adult