Microbial communities and gene contributions in smokeless tobacco products
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Microbial communities and gene contributions in smokeless tobacco products

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  • Alternative Title:
    Appl Microbiol Biotechnol
  • Description:
    Smokeless tobacco products (STP) contain bacteria, mold, and fungi due to exposure from surrounding environments and tobacco processing. This has been a cause for concern since the presence of microorganisms has been linked to the formation of highly carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines. These communities have also been reported to produce toxins and other pro-inflammatory molecules that can cause mouth lesions and elicit inflammatory responses in STP users. Moreover, microbial species in these products could transfer to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, potentially altering the established respective microbiotas of the consumer. Here, we present the first metagenomic analysis of select smokeless tobacco products, specifically US domestic moist and dry snuff. Bacterial, eukaryotic, and viral species were found in all tobacco products where 68% of the total species was comprised of Bacteria with 3 dominant phyla but also included 32% Eukarya and 1% share abundance for Archaea and Viruses. Furthermore, 693,318 genes were found to be present and included nitrate and nitrite reduction and transport enzymes, antibiotic resistance genes associated with resistance to vancomycin, β-lactamases, their derivatives, and other antibiotics, as well as genes encoding multi-drug transporters and efflux pumps. Additional analyses showed the presence of endo- and exotoxin genes in addition to other molecules associated with inflammatory responses. Our results present a novel aspect of the smokeless tobacco microbiome and provide a better understanding of these products' microbiology. KEY POINTS: • The findings presented will help understand microbial contributions to overall STP chemistries. • Gene function categorization reveals harmful constituents outside canonical forms. • Pathway genes for TSNA precursor activity may occur at early stages of production. • Bacteria in STPs carry antibiotic resistance genes and gene transfer mechanisms.
  • Pubmed ID:
    33180172
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC7849185
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