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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)