Detection of Methanobrevobacter smithii and Methanobrevibacter oralis in Lower Respiratory Tract Microbiota
Methanogens, the sole microbes producing methane, are archaea commonly found in human anaerobic microbiota. Methanogens are emerging as opportunistic pathogens associated with dysbiosis and are also detected and cultured in anaerobic abscesses. Their presence in the respiratory tract is yet unknown. As a preliminary answer, prospective investigation of 908 respiratory tract samples using polyphasic approach combining PCR-sequencing, real-time PCR, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), and
... ation (FISH), and methanogens culture was carried out. Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanobrevibacter oralis DNA sequences, were detected in 21/527 (3.9%) sputum samples, 2/188 (1.06%) bronchoalveolar lavages, and none of 193 tracheo-bronchial aspirations. Further, fluorescence in situ hybridization detected methanogens in three sputum investigated specimens with stick morphology suggesting M. oralis and in another one bronchoalveolar lavage sample investigated, diplococal morphology suggesting M. smithii. These observations extend the known territory of methanogens to the respiratory tract and lay the foundations for further interpretation of their detection as pathogens in any future cases of isolation from bronchoalveolar lavages and the lungs.