Divergent Gut Microbiota: Archaeal and Bacterial Signatures Unveil Unique Patterns in Colombian Cyclists Compared to Weightlifters and Non-Athletes

J. V. Aya, L. C. Vega, E. Muñoz, M. Muñoz, D. F. López, M. P. Guzmán, D. F. Martínez, L. B. Cruz-Saavedra, A. K. Castillo, K. J. Quintero, R. R. Gónzalez Soltero, M. P. Cala, J. D. Ramírez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Engagement in physical activity, across various sports, promotes a diverse microbiota in active individuals. This study examines the gut microbiota of Colombian athletes, specifically weightlifters (n = 16) and road cyclists (n = 13), compared to non-athletes (n = 15). Using Kruskal–Wallis tests, the physical activity level of a group of non-athletic individuals and the sports experience of a group of professional athletes is analyzed. The median age of participants is 24 years, comprising 25 men and 19 women. The microbiota is collected using fecal samples. Participants provided these samples during their pre-competitive stage, specifically during the concentration phase occurring two weeks prior to national competitions. This timing is chosen to capture the microbial composition during a period of heightened physical preparation. Questionnaire responses and microbial composition assessments identify disparities among groups. Microbial composition analysis explores core microbiome, abundance, and taxonomy using Pavian, MicrobiomeAnalyst 2.0, and GraPhlAn. ANCOM-BC2 reveals differentially abundant species. Road cyclists exhibit decreased Bacteria and increased Archaea abundance. Phylum-level variations included Planctomycetes, Acidobacteria, and Proteobacteria, while Bacteroidetes prevailed. Key families influencing gut microbiota are Bacteroidaceae, Muribaculaceae, and Selenomonadaceae. Weightlifters exhibit unique viral and archaeal community connections, while cyclists showed specialized microbial interplay influenced by endurance exercise. Correlation network analysis emphasizes distinctive microbial interactions within athlete groups, shedding light on the impact of physical activities on gut microbiota and athlete health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvanced Biology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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