A research team including Associate Professor Jiro Nakayama of the Kyushu University Faculty of Agriculture and Dr. Koichi Watanabe of Yakult Central Institute studied the intestinal bacterial flora of children in five Asian countries, as part of the Asian Microbiome Project led by Associate Professor Yuan-Kun Lee of the National University of Singapore.
Intestinal bacterial flora are said to have a substantial effect on human health. As a result of the study, the research team discovered that the intestinal bacterial flora of Asian children can be broadly classified into two categories (enterotypes) and that Japanese children characteristically have a higher abundance of Bifidobacterium and fewer potentially pathogenic bacteria (such as Escherichia coli) than children in other countries.
The outcomes of this study were published in the online journal Scientific Reports, the sister journal of Nature, at 10:00 (UK time) on Monday, February 23, 2015.
Countries and institutions participating in Asian Microbiome Project (AMP).
Gut bacterial compositions of children living in ten cities in five
countries. Children living in Indonesia and Thailand are highly colonized by Prevotellaceae (green), while those in China, Taiwan, and Japan are highly colonized by Bacteroidaceae (orange) and Bifidobacteriaceae (Yellow).
Two enterotype-like clusters found in Asian children. The type of gut microbiota of 303 Asian children were classified into two types, each of them dominated by Prevotellaceae (P-type) or Bacteroides/Bifidobacteriaceae (BB-type).
To address the diversity in the Asian gut microbiota that functions as an interface between diet and health, AMP group characterized the bacterial community in fecal samples obtained from 600 healthy volunteers living in ten countries spanning temperate and tropical areas of Asia. The variation of the profiled microbiota profiled was diverged into two clusters, so-called “enterotype”, exhibiting a trade-off between Prevotella and Bifidobacterium/Bacteroides. We will further inquire into the factor determining enterotypes.