Gut microbiota profile in healthy Indonesians

World J Gastroenterol. 2019 Mar 28;25(12):1478-1491. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i12.1478.


Background: Recently, gut microbiota has been associated with various diseases other than intestinal disease. Thus, there has been rapid growth in the study of gut microbiota. Considering the numerous factors influencing gut microbiota such as age, diet, etc., area-based research is required. Indonesia has numerous different tribes and each of these tribes have different lifestyles. Hence, it is expected that each tribe has a specific gut microbiota. A deeper insight into the composition of gut microbiota can be used to determine the condition of gut microbiota in Indonesians and to consider which treatment may be suitable and effective to improve health status.

Aim: To investigate the gut microbiota of Indonesian subjects represented by Javanese and Balinese tribes by analyzing fecal samples.

Methods: Fecal samples were collected from a total of 80 individuals with 20 in each of the young groups ranging from 25-45 years and the elderly group aged 70 years or more from two different regions, Yogyakarta and Bali. Fecal sample collection was performed at the end of the assessment period (day 14 ± 1 d) during which time the subjects were not allowed to consume probiotic or antibiotic products. The quantification of various Clostridium subgroups, Lactobacillus subgroups, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Bacteroides fragilis group and Prevotella, Bifidobacterium and Atopobium cluster, Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas was performed using the Yakult intestinal flora-scan (YIF-SCAN).

Results: The bacterial population in younger subjects' feces was higher than that in the elderly population, with a total of approximately 10.0 - 10.6 log10 bacterial cells/g feces. The most abundant bacteria in all groups were Clostridium, followed by Prevotella, Atopobium, Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides. In the elderly, an increase in Enterobacteriaceae, Coliform and Escherichia coli was found. In terms of bacterial counts in Yogyakarta, total bacteria, Clostridium coccoides (C. coccoides) group, Bifidobacterium, Prevotella, Lactobacillus plantarum subgroup, and Streptococcus were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in younger than elderly subjects, while the Lactobacillus gasseri subgroup, Lactobacillus casei subgroup, and Lactobacillus reuteri subgroup counts were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in younger subjects. In Balinese subjects, total bacteria, C. coccoides group, Clostridium leptum subgroup, Bacteroides fragilis group, and Prevotella were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in younger compared to elderly individuals, while the Lactobacillus ruminis subgroup, and Enterobacteriaceae were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in younger subjects. The results also revealed that, besides the C. coccoides group and Clostridium leptum group being the most abundant gut microbiota in both Yogyakarta and Balinese people, the latter was indicated by a higher Clostridium perfringens count, which was almost 10 times that of Yogyakarta subjects. This may be a response to different lifestyles in the different tribes; however, this phenomenon requires further extensive study.

Conclusion: Bacterial populations were higher in younger than in elderly subjects. Most abundant bacterial groups were Clostridium, Prevotella, Atopobium, Bifidobacterium, and Bacteroides. The level of Clostridium perfringens in Yogyakarta subjects was lower than that in Balinese subjects.

Keywords: Elderly; Enterotype; Gut microbiota; Indonesian; Young people.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Indonesia
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction