Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 18 (1), 157

Repertoire of the Gut Microbiota From Stomach to Colon Using Culturomics and Next-Generation Sequencing


Repertoire of the Gut Microbiota From Stomach to Colon Using Culturomics and Next-Generation Sequencing

Morgane Mailhe et al. BMC Microbiol.


Background: Most studies on the human microbiota have analyzed stool samples, although a large proportion of the absorption of nutrients takes place in upper gut tract. We collected samples from different locations along the entire gastrointestinal tract from six patients who had simultaneously undergone upper endoscopy and colonoscopy, to perform a comprehensive analysis using culturomics with matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation - time of flight (MALDI-TOF) identification and by metagenomics targeting the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene.

Results: Using culturomics, we isolated 368 different bacterial species, including 37 new species. Fewer species were isolated in the upper gut: 110 in the stomach and 106 in the duodenum, while 235 were isolated from the left colon (p < 0.02). We isolated fewer aero-intolerant species in the upper gut: 37 from the stomach and 150 from the left colon (p < 0.004). Using metagenomics, 1,021 species were identified. The upper gut microbiota was revealed to be less rich than the lower gut microbiota, with 37,622 reads from the stomach, 28,390 from the duodenum, and 79,047 from the left colon (p < 0.009). There were fewer reads for aero-intolerant species in the upper gut (8,656 in the stomach, 5,188 in the duodenum and 72,262 in the left colon, p < 0.02). Patients taking proton pump inhibitors (PPI) were then revealed to have a higher stomach pH and a greater diversity of species in the upper digestive tract than patients not receiving treatment (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Significant modifications in bacterial composition and diversity exist throughout the gastrointestinal tract. We suggest that the upper gut may be key to understanding the relationship between the gut microbiota and health.

Keywords: Culturomics; Gut microbiota; Metagenomics; New species.

Conflict of interest statement

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Patients gave their signed informed consent and the study was validated by the ethics committee of the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire (IHU) Méditerranée Infection under number 2016–010.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

The authors have no competing interests or other interests that might be perceived to influence the results and discussion reported in this paper.

The authors have no personal or financial conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Comparison of digestive levels according to whether or not patients were treated with PPIs. As no normalization has been performed before PCR reaction, no significant conclusion can be supported regarding the density of the bacteria, the number of reads is indicated with informative value. Firmicutes: blue, Proteobacteria: red, Bacteroidetes: green, Actinobacteria: yellow, Fusobacteria: pink. Ai: aerointolerant, Ae: aerotolerant
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
a) Species isolated by culturomics along the digestive tract in terms of whether they are known in the gut (green), in humans (yellow), in the environment (orange), and or whether they have been isolated for the first time (red). b) Venn diagram representing bacterial species numbers identified by culturomics (green) and metagenomics (red), with the percentage of species found by both approaches, for each patient and each step along the digestive tract
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Principal component analysis conducted on all samples, showing the difference between upper and lower parts of the digestive tract
Fig. 4
Fig. 4
Neighbor-joining phylogenetic with the non assigned OTUs from the 16S rRNA of all samples corresponding to the 37 new species identified in culturomics in red

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 4 PubMed Central articles


    1. Borgstrom B, Dahlqvist A, Lundh G, Sjovall J. Studies of intestinal digestion and absorption in the human. J Clin Invest. 1957;36(10):1521–1536. doi: 10.1172/JCI103549. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. DiBaise JK, Zhang H, Crowell MD, Krajmalnik-Brown R, Decker GA, Rittmann BE. Gut microbiota and its possible relationship with obesity. Mayo Clin Proc. 2008;83(4):460–469. doi: 10.4065/83.4.460. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Krajmalnik-Brown R, Ilhan Z-E, Kang D-W, DiBaise JK. Effects of gut microbes on nutrient absorption and energy regulation. Nutr Clin Pract. 2012;27(2):201–214. doi: 10.1177/0884533611436116. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Drissi F, Raoult D, Merhej V. Metabolic role of lactobacilli in weight modification in humans and animals. Microb Pathog. 2017;106:182–94. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2016.03.006. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Hugon P, Lagier J-C, Robert C, Lepolard C, Papazian L, Musso D, et al. Molecular studies neglect apparently gram-negative populations in the human gut microbiota. J Clin Microbiol. 2013;51(10):3286–3293. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00473-13. - DOI - PMC - PubMed

Publication types

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources