Enteral tube feeding is widely used to maintain nutrition for elderly adults with eating difficulties, but its long-term use alters the environment of the oral ecosystem. This study characterized the tongue microbiota of tube-fed elderly adults by analyzing the 16S rRNA gene. The terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) profiles of 44 tube-fed subjects were compared with those of 54 subjects fed orally (average age, 86.4 ± 6.9 years). Bar-coded pyrosequencing data were also obtained for a subset of the subjects from each group (15 tube-fed subjects and 16 subjects fed orally). The T-RFLP profiles demonstrated that the microbiota of the tube-fed subjects was distinct from that of the subjects fed orally (permutational multivariate analysis of variance [perMANOVA], P < 0.001). The pyrosequencing data revealed that 22 bacterial genera, including Corynebacterium, Peptostreptococcus, and Fusobacterium, were significantly more predominant in tube-fed subjects, whereas the dominant genera in the subjects fed orally, such as Streptococcus and Veillonella, were present in much lower proportions. Opportunistic pathogens rarely detected in the normal oral microbiota, such as Corynebacterium striatum and Streptococcus agalactiae, were often found in high proportions in tube-fed subjects. The oral indigenous microbiota is disrupted by the use of enteral feeding, allowing health-threatening bacteria to thrive.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology