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Yard vegetation is associated with gut microbiota composition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number136707
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Gut microbes play an essential role in the development and functioning of the human immune system. A disturbed gut microbiota composition is often associated with a number of health disorders including immune-mediated diseases. Differences in host characteristics such as ethnicity, living habit and diet have been used toexplain differences in the gut microbiota composition in inter-continental comparison studies. As our previousstudies imply that daily skin contact with organic gardening materials modify gut microflora, here we investigated the association between living environment and gut microbiota in a homogenous western populationalong an urban-rural gradient. We obtained stool samples from 48 native elderly Finns in province Häme in August and November 2015 and identified the bacterial phylotypes using 16S rRNA Illumina MiSeq sequencing. Weassumedthat yardvegetation and landcoverclassessurroundinghomesexplain thestool bacterial communityingeneralized linear mixed models. Diverse yard vegetation was associated with a reduced abundance of Clostridiumsensu stricto and an increased abundance ofFaecalibacteriumand Prevotellaceae. The abundance ofBacteroideswas positively and strongly associated with the built environment. Exclusion of animal owners didnot alter the main associations. These results suggest that diverse vegetation around homes is associated withhealth-related changes in gut microbiota composition. Manipulation of the garden diversity, possibly jointlywith urban planning, is a promising candidate for future intervention studies that aim to maintain guthomeostasis.


  • Gut microbiota, Elderly gut microbiota, Living environment, Garden diversity, Built area coverage

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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