Effects of enhanced insect feeding on the faecal microbiota and transcriptome of a family of captive common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)

Yumiko Yamazaki, Shigeharu Moriya, Shinpei Kawarai, Hidetoshi Morita, Takefumi Kikusui, Atsushi Iriki

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Common marmosets have been widely used in biomedical research for years. Nutritional control is an important factor in managing their health, and insect intake would be beneficial for that purpose because common marmosets frequently feed on insects in natural habitats. Here, we examined the effect of enhanced insect feeding on the gut by analysing the faecal microbiota and transcripts of captive marmosets. A family consisting of six marmosets was divided into two groups. During the seven-day intervention period, one group (the insect feeding group, or Group IF) was fed one cricket and one giant mealworm per marmoset per day, while the other (the control group, or Group C) was not fed these insects. RNA was extracted from faecal samples to evaluate the ecology and transcripts of the microbiota, which were then compared among time points before (Pre), immediately after (Post), and two weeks after the intervention (Follow_up) using total RNA sequencing. The gut microbiota of marmosets showed Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Proteobacteria as dominant phyla. Linear discriminant analysis showed differential characteristics of microbiota with and without insect feeding treatment. Further analysis of differentially expressed genes revealed increases and decreases in Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, respectively, corresponding to the availability of insects under both Post and Follow_up conditions. Significant changes specific to insect feeding were also detected within the transcriptome, some of which were synchronized with the fluctuations in the microbiota, suggesting a functional correlation or interaction between the two. The rapid changes in the microbiota and transcripts may be achieved by the microbiota community originally developed in the wild through marmosets’ feeding ecology. The results were informative for identifying the physiological impact of insect feeding to produce a better food regimen and for detecting transcripts that are currently unidentifiable.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0279380
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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