Gut yeast communities inLarus michahellisfrom various breeding colonies

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Abstract

Yellow-legged gulls have been reported to carry antibiotic-resistant Enterobacteriaceae; however, the gut mycobiota of these birds has not yet been described. In this study, we analyzed the gut yeast communities in five yellow-legged gull breeding colonies along the Mediterranean littoral in southern France. Gull fecal samples were inoculated onto four types of culture media, including one supplemented with itraconazole. Yeast species richness, abundance, and diversity were estimated, and factorial analysis was used to highlight correspondences between breeding colonies. Yeast grew in 113 of 177 cultures, and 17 distinct yeast species were identified. The most frequent species were Candida krusei (53.5%), Galactomyces geotrichum (44.1%), C. glabrata (40.9%), C. albicans (20.5%), and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (18.1%). Gut yeast community structure in the gulls at both Pierre-Blanche Lagoon (PB) and Frioul Archipelago (F) were characterized by greater species richness and diversity than in those at the two cities of La Grande-Motte (GM) and Palavas-les-Flots (PF) as well as Riou Archipelago (R). Gulls in these latter three sites probably share a similar type of anthropogenic diet. Notably, the proportion of anthropic yeast species, including C. albicans and C. glabrata, in the gull mycobiota increased with gull colony synanthropy. Antifungal resistance was found in each of the five most frequent yeast species. We found that the gut yeast communities of these yellow-legged gulls include antifungal-resistant human pathogens. Further studies should assess the public health impact of these common synanthropic seabirds, which represent a reservoir and disseminator of drug-resistant human pathogenic yeast into the environment.

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