Microbial Quantity Impacts Drosophila Nutrition, Development, and Lifespan

iScience. 2018 Jun 29;4:247-259. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2018.06.004. Epub 2018 Jun 8.


In Drosophila, microbial association can promote development or extend life. We tested the impact of microbial association during malnutrition and show that microbial quantity is a predictor of fly longevity. Although all tested microbes, when abundantly provided, can rescue lifespan on low-protein diet, the effect of a single inoculation seems linked to the ability of that microbial strain to thrive under experimental conditions. Microbes, dead or alive, phenocopy dietary protein, and the calculated dependence on microbial protein content is similar to the protein requirements determined from fly feeding studies, suggesting that microbes enhance host protein nutrition by serving as protein-rich food. Microbes that enhance larval growth are also associated with the ability to better thrive on fly culture medium. Our results suggest an unanticipated range of microbial species that promote fly development and longevity and highlight microbial quantity as an important determinant of effects on physiology and lifespan during undernutrition.

Keywords: Microbiology; Microbiome; Nutrition in Life Cycle.