Characterization of the Oral Fungal Microbiome (Mycobiome) in Healthy Individuals
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The oral microbiome-organisms residing in the oral cavity and their collective genome-are critical components of health and disease. The fungal component of the oral microbiota has not been characterized. In this study, we used a novel multitag pyrosequencing approach to characterize fungi present in the oral cavity of 20 healthy individuals, using the pan-fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) primers. Our results revealed the "basal" oral mycobiome profile of the enrolled individuals, and showed that across all the samples studied, the oral cavity contained 74 culturable and 11 non-culturable fungal genera. Among these genera, 39 were present in only one person, 16 genera were present in two participants, and 5 genera were present in three people, while 15 genera (including non-culturable organisms) were present in >/=4 (20%) participants. Candida species were the most frequent (isolated from 75% of participants), followed by Cladosporium (65%), Aureobasidium, Saccharomycetales (50% for both), Aspergillus (35%), Fusarium (30%), and Cryptococcus (20%). Four of these predominant genera are known to be pathogenic in humans. The low-abundance genera may represent environmental fungi present in the oral cavity and could simply be spores inhaled from the air or material ingested with food. Among the culturable genera, 61 were represented by one species each, while 13 genera comprised between 2 and 6 different species; the total number of species identified were 101. The number of species in the oral cavity of each individual ranged between 9 and 23. Principal component (PCO) analysis of the obtained data set followed by sample clustering and UniFrac analysis revealed that White males and Asian males clustered differently from each other, whereas both Asian and White females clustered together. This is the first study that identified the "basal mycobiome" of healthy individuals, and provides the basis for a detailed characterization of the oral mycobiome in health and disease.
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