Skin fungal community and its correlation with bacterial community of urban Chinese individuals

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Journal / PublicationMicrobiome
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016



Background: High-throughput sequencing has led to increased insights into the human skin microbiome. Currently, the majority of skin microbiome investigations are limited to characterizing prokaryotic communities, and our understanding of the skin fungal community (mycobiome) is limited, more so for cohorts outside of the western hemisphere. Here, the skin mycobiome across healthy Chinese individuals in Hong Kong are characterized. Results: Based on a curated fungal reference database designed for skin mycobiome analyses, previously documented common skin colonizers are also abundant and prevalent in this cohort. However, genera associated with local terrains, food, and medicine are also detected. Fungal community composition shows interpersonal (Bray-Curtis ANOSIM = 0. 398) and household (Bray-Curtis ANOSIM = 0.134) clustering. Roles of gender and age on diversity analyses are test- and site-specific, and, contrary to bacteria, the effect of household on fungal community composition dissimilarity between samples is insignificant. Site-specific, cross-domain positive and negative correlations at both community and operational taxonomic unit levels may uncover potential relationships between fungi and bacteria on skin. Conclusions: The studied Chinese population presents similar major fungal skin colonizers that are also common in western populations, but local outdoor environments and lifestyles may also contribute to mycobiomes of specific cohorts. Cohabitation plays an insignificant role in shaping mycobiome differences between individuals in this cohort. Increased understanding of fungal communities of non-western cohorts will contribute to understanding the size of the global skin pan-mycobiome, which will ultimately help understand relationships between environmental exposures, microbial populations, and the health of global humans.

Research Area(s)

  • Bacterial community, Fungus, ITS1, Microbial diversity, Mycobiome, Mycobiota, Pan-microbiome, Skin

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