In Science Report journal, Zhang and colleagues published a study about Mongolians known to have their own typical lifestyle, notably in terms of dietary habits. Using 16S rDNA pyrosequencing, researchers showed the presence of a phylogenetic core microbiota comprising the genera Prevotella, Bacteroides, Faecalibacterium, Ruminococcus, Subdoligranulum and Coprococcus. They have shown that urbanisation may change the composition of their gut microbiota. Using a food frequency questionnaire, they found correlations between dietary structure and some components of the intestinal microbiota. Focusing on Khentii residents whose diet varies according to season, they showed the largest variation compared to urban residents.

Differences in gut microbiota among Mongolians from Khentii, TUW and Ulan Bator.

(A) A principal component (PCoA) score plot based on unweighted UniFrac metrics for all participants. Each point represents the composition of the intestinal microbiota of one participant. (B) PCoA score plot based on unweighted UniFrac metrics. Each point represents the mean principal component scores of all volunteers at one location at one time point, and the error bar represents the standard deviation. (C) Sampling location and time point-driven unweighted UniFrac distances. (D) The silhouette index reflected the isolation degree of two enterotypes. (E) Enterotype analyses of the intestinal microbiota; cluster 1 contained participants primarily from Ulan Bator, and cluster 2 contained participants primarily from the Khentii pasturing area and TUW province. (F) Heatmap constructed using the amount of significantly different genera among participants in the Khentii pasturing area, TUW province and Ulan Bator city.

Zhang J et al. Mongolians core gut microbiota and its correlation with seasonal dietary changes. Sci Rep. 2014 May 16;4:5001. doi:10.1038/srep05001.