The primate gut mycobiome-bacteriome interface is impacted by environmental and subsistence factors

NPJ Biofilms Microbiomes. 2022 Mar 17;8(1):12. doi: 10.1038/s41522-022-00274-3.


The gut microbiome of primates is known to be influenced by both host genetic background and subsistence strategy. However, these inferences have been made mainly based on adaptations in bacterial composition - the bacteriome and have commonly overlooked the fungal fraction - the mycobiome. To further understand the factors that shape the gut mycobiome of primates and mycobiome-bacteriome interactions, we sequenced 16 S rRNA and ITS2 markers in fecal samples of four different nonhuman primate species and three human groups under different subsistence patterns (n = 149). The results show that gut mycobiome composition in primates is still largely unknown but highly plastic and weakly structured by primate phylogeny, compared with the bacteriome. We find significant gut mycobiome overlap between captive apes and human populations living under industrialized subsistence contexts; this is in contrast with contemporary hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists, who share more mycobiome traits with diverse wild-ranging nonhuman primates. In addition, mycobiome-bacteriome interactions were specific to each population, revealing that individual, lifestyle and intrinsic ecological factors affect structural correspondence, number, and kind of interactions between gut bacteria and fungi in primates. Our findings indicate a dominant effect of ecological niche, environmental factors, and diet over the phylogenetic background of the host, in shaping gut mycobiome composition and mycobiome-bacteriome interactions in primates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Mycobiome*
  • Phylogeny
  • Primates