The Ohio State University
Molly Mills 1 2, Seungjun Lee 3, Barbara A Piperata 4, Rebecca Garabed 5, Boseung Choi 6, Jiyoung Lee 7 8 9 *
1Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
2Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
3Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Fisheries Science, Pukyong National University, Busan, Republic of Korea.
4Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
5Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
6Division of Big Data Science, Korea University, Sejong, Republic of Korea.
7Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
8Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
9Department of Food Science & Technology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
*Corresponding author: correspondence to Jiyoung Lee
Background: Early life plays a vital role in the development of the gut microbiome and subsequent health. While many factors that shape the gut microbiome have been described, including delivery mode, breastfeeding, and antibiotic use, the role of household environments is still unclear. Furthermore, the development of the gut antimicrobial resistome and its role in health and disease is not well characterized, particularly in settings with water insecurity and less sanitation infrastructure.
Results: This study investigated the gut microbiome and resistome of infants and young children (ages 4 days-6 years) in rural Nicaragua using Oxford Nanopore Technology's MinION long-read sequencing. Differences in gut microbiome diversity and antibiotic resistance gene (ARG) abundance were examined for associations with host factors (age, sex, height for age z-score, weight for height z-score, delivery mode, breastfeeding habits) and household environmental factors (animals inside the home, coliforms in drinking water, enteric pathogens in household floors, fecal microbial source tracking markers in household floors). We identified anticipated associations of higher gut microbiome diversity with participant age and vaginal delivery. However, novel to this study were the significant, positive associations between ruminant and dog fecal contamination of household floors and gut microbiome diversity. We also identified greater abundance of potential pathogens in the gut microbiomes of participants with higher fecal contamination on their household floors. Path analysis revealed that water quality and household floor contamination independently and significantly influenced gut microbiome diversity when controlling for age. These gut microbiome contained diverse resistome, dominated by multidrug, tetracycline, macrolide/lincosamide/streptogramin, and beta-lactam resistance. We found that the abundance of ARGs in the gut decreased with age. The bacterial hosts of ARGs were mainly from the family Enterobacteriaceae, particularly Escherichia coli.
Conclusions: This study identified the role of household environmental contamination in the developing gut microbiome and resistome of young children and infants with a One Health perspective. We found significant relationships between host age, gut microbiome diversity, and the resistome. Understanding the impact of the household environment on the development of the resistome and microbiome in early life is essential to optimize the relationship between environmental exposure and human health. Video Abstract.