Gut eukaryome refers to the collection of fungi and protists in the gut. Until recently, all eukaryotic gut microbes were considered parasites and subject to elimination. Though this is true in some instances, critical evaluation of the literature reveals that most microbial eukaryotes are harmless often colonizing the human gut for long periods of time. Evidence is accumulating that the eukaryome plays important ecological roles in gut communities, as well as, in health and disease of the host. Nonetheless, systematic examination aiming to obtain baseline information of their prevalence and diversity in human populations is lagging. To address this knowledge gap, we collected fecal samples from a population of adults residing in north Thailand (n=211), who showed no gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and had no history of GI diseases. We then examined the prevalence and diversity of two commonly found eukaryotic genera: the stramenopile Blastocystis (Blastocystis spp.) and the yeast Candida (Candida tropicalis and Candida albicans). Twenty three percent of individuals were positive for Blastocystis. Their sequences grouped in six of the nine clades that colonize humans. Twelve percent of the study population was positive for Candida, 4 % for C. albicans and 8 % for C. tropicalis, while concurrent colonization was also noted in some individuals. Eukaryotic bacterial interactions, as well as, interplay with diet and body mass index are also discussed. This is the first study providing data on the eukaryome of Thai populations and evidence that microeukaryotes traditionally considered as pathogenic asymptomatically colonize the gut of healthy humans.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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