Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and Micavibrio aeruginosavorus are Gram-negative proteobacteria that are obligate predators of other Gram-negative bacteria and are considered potential alternatives to antibiotics. Most studies focusing on predatory bacteria have been performed in vitro, thus the effect of predatory bacteria on a live host, including the impact on the ecology of the native microbiota, has yet to be fully examined. In this study, intrarectal inoculations of Sprague-Dawley rats with predatory bacteria were performed. Additionally, feces were collected for seven days post-inoculation to determine the effect on gut bacterial diversity. Rat colonic tissue exhibited no abnormal histopathological effects due to predatory bacteria. A modest increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines was measured in the colons of rats inoculated with predatory bacteria by 24 and 48 hours, with all but IL-13 returning to baseline by seven days. V4 16S rRNA gene sequencing of fecal DNA demonstrated minimal shifts in taxonomic representation over the week due to predatory bacteria. Changes in bacterial populations due to exposure to B. bacteriovorus are predicted to contribute to health, however, an overgrowth of Prevotella was observed due to exposure to M. aeruginosavorus. This study further addresses safety concerns associated with the potential use of predatory bacteria to treat infections.
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