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Genomic Analyses of Bifidobacterium moukalabense Reveal Adaptations to Frugivore/Folivore Feeding Behavior

Center for Life Science Research, University of Yamanashi, 1110 Shimokato, Chuo, Yamanashi 409-3898, Japan
Faculty of Engineering, Maebashi Institute of Technology, Maebashi, Gunma 371-0816, Japan
Department of Biological Sciences, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
Chubu University Academy of Emerging Sciences, Kasugai, Aichi 487-8501, Japan
Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto 606-8522, Japan
Research Institute of Tropical Ecology, Libreville BP 13354, Gabon
Center for Information Biology, National Institute of Genetics, 1111 Yata, Mishima, Shizuoka 411-8540, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2019, 7(4), 99;
Received: 29 December 2018 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Microbiology)
PDF [2550 KB, uploaded 9 April 2019]


Despite the essential role of Bifidobacterium in health-promoting gut bacteria in humans, little is known about their functions in wild animals, especially non-human primates. It is difficult to determine in vivo the function of Bifidobacterium in wild animals due to the limited accessibility of studying target animals in natural conditions. However, the genomic characteristics of Bifidobacterium obtained from the feces of wild animals can provide insight into their functionality in the gut. Here, we analyzed the whole genomes of 12 B. moukalabense strains isolated from seven feces samples of wild western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), three samples of wild central chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) and two samples of wild forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) in Moukalaba-Doudou National Park, Gabon. In addition, we analyzed the fecal bacterial communities of six wild western lowland gorillas by meta 16S rRNA gene analyses with next generation sequencing. Although the abundance of the genus Bifidobacterium was as low as 0.2% in the total reads, a whole genome analysis of B. moukalabense suggested its contribution digestion of food and nutrition of frugivore/folivore animals. Specifically, the whole genome analysis indicated the involvement of B. moukalabense in hemicellulose degradation for short chain fatty acid production and nucleic acid utilization as nitrogen resources. In comparison with human-associated Bifidobacterium spp., genes for carbohydrate transport and metabolism are not conserved in these wild species. In particular the glycosidases, which are found in all 12 strains of B. moukalabense, were variably detected, or not detected, in human-associated species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bifidobacterium moukalabense; genomic characteristics; wild gorillas; wild chimpanzees; wild forest elephants Bifidobacterium moukalabense; genomic characteristics; wild gorillas; wild chimpanzees; wild forest elephants

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Segawa, T.; Fukuchi, S.; Bodington, D.; Tsuchida, S.; Mbehang Nguema, P.P.; Mori, H.; Ushida, K. Genomic Analyses of Bifidobacterium moukalabense Reveal Adaptations to Frugivore/Folivore Feeding Behavior. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 99.

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