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Metagenomic sequencing reveals altered metabolic pathways in the oral microbiota of sailors during a long sea voyage
Zheng, W.; Zhang, Z.; Liu, C.; Qiao, Y.; Zhou, D.; Qu, J.; An, A.; Xiong, M.; Zhu, Z.; Zhao, X. (2015). Metagenomic sequencing reveals altered metabolic pathways in the oral microbiota of sailors during a long sea voyage. NPG Scientific Reports 5(9131): 11 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep09131
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Zheng, W.
  • Zhang, Z.
  • Liu, C.
  • Qiao, Y.
  • Zhou, D.
  • Qu, J.
  • An, A.
  • Xiong, M.
  • Zhu, Z.
  • Zhao, X.

Abstract
    Seafaring is a difficult occupation, and sailors face higher health risks than individuals on land. Commensal microbiota participates in the host immune system and metabolism, reflecting the host's health condition. However, the interaction mechanisms between the microbiota and the host's health condition remain unclear. This study reports the influence of long sea voyages on human health by utilising a metagenomic analysis of variation in the microbiota of the buccal mucosa. Paired samples collected before and after a sea-voyage were analysed. After more than 120 days of ocean sailing, the oral microbial diversity of sailors was reduced by approximately 5 fold, and the levels of several pathogens (e.g., Streptococcus pneumonia) increased. Moreover, 69.46% of the identified microbial sequences were unclassified microbiota. Notably, several metabolic pathways were dramatically decreased, including folate biosynthesis, carbohydrate, lipid and amino acid pathways. Clinical examination of the hosts confirmed the identified metabolic changes, as demonstrated by decreased serum levels of haemoglobin and folic acid, a decreased neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, and increased levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and homocysteine, which are consistent with the observed microbial variation. Our study suggests that oral mucosal bacteria may reflect host health conditions and could provide approaches for improving the health of sailors.

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