Characterizing the blood microbiota of omnivorous and frugivorous bats (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) in Casanare, eastern Colombia

Nicolas Luna, Marina Muñoz, Adriana Castillo-Castañeda, Carolina Hernandez, Plutarco Urbano, Maryia Shaban, Alberto Paniz-Mondolfi, Juan David Ramírez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Bats are known reservoirs of seemingly-innocuous pathogenic microorganisms (including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa), which are associated with triggering disease in other zoonotic groups. The taxonomic diversity of the bats’ microbiome is likely associated with species-specific phenotypic, metabolic, and immunogenic capacities. To date, few studies have described the diversity of bat blood microbial communities. Then, this study used amplicon-based next generation sequencing of the V4 hypervariable region of the 16S-rRNA gene in blood samples from omnivorous (n = 16) and frugivorous (n = 9) bats from the department of Casanare in eastern Colombia. We found the blood microbiota in bats to be composed of, among others, Bartonella and Mycoplasma bacterial genera which are associated with various disease phenotypes in other mammals. Furthermore, our results suggest that the bats’ dietary habits might determine the composition and the persistence of some pathogens over others in their bloodstream. This study is among the first to describe the blood microbiota in bats, to reflect on co-infection rates of multiple pathogens in the same individual, and to consider the influence of diet as a factor affecting the animal’s endogenous microbial community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15169
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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