The Effect of Experimental Fusarium Mycotoxicosis on Microbiota Diversity in Porcine Ascending Colon Contents
BACKGROUND Deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin produced by Fusarium species, is one of the most prevalent mycotoxins present in cereal crops worldwide. Due to its toxic properties, high stability and prevalence, the presence of DON in the food chain represents a health risk for both humans and animals. The gastrointestinal microbiota represents potentially the first target for these food contaminants. Thus, the effects of mycotoxins on the human gut microbiota is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed in further detail. Using a human microbiota-associated rat model, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact of a chronic exposure of DON on the composition of human gut microbiota. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Four groups of 5 germ free male rats each, housed in 4 sterile isolators, were inoculated with a different fresh human fecal flora. Rats were then fed daily by gavage with a solution of DON at 100 µg/kg bw for 4 weeks. Fecal samples were collected at day 0 before the beginning of the treatment; days 7, 16, 21, and 27 during the treatment; and 10 days after the end of the treatment at day 37. DON effect was assessed by real-time PCR quantification of dominant and subdominant bacterial groups in feces. Despite a different intestinal microbiota in each isolator, similar trends were generally observed. During oral DON exposure, a significant increase of 0.5 log10 was observed for the Bacteroides/Prevotella group during the first 3 weeks of administration. Concentration levels for Escherichia coli decreased at day 27. This significant decrease (0.9 log10 CFU/g) remained stable until the end of the experiment. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE We have demonstrated an impact of oral DON exposure on the human gut microbiota composition. These findings can serve as a template for risk assessment studies of food contaminants on the human gut microbiota.