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Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems

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Bacteria | Bacteriology | Biological Phenomena, Cell Phenomena, and Immunity | Carbohydrates | Digestive System | Genetic Phenomena | Genomics | Microbiology


Bifidobacterium longum colonizes mammalian gastrointestinal tracts where it could metabolize host-indigestible oligosaccharides. Although B. longum strains are currently segregated into three subspecies that reflect common metabolic capacities and genetic similarity, heterogeneity within subspecies suggests that these taxonomic boundaries may not be completely resolved. To address this, the B. longum pangenome was analyzed from representative strains isolated from a diverse set of sources. As a result, the B. longum pangenome is open and contains almost 17,000 genes, with over 85% of genes found in < /=28 of 191 strains. B. longum genomes share a small core gene set of only ~500 genes, or ~3% of the total pangenome. Although the individual B. longum subspecies pangenomes share similar relative abundances of clusters of orthologous groups, strains show inter- and intrasubspecies differences with respect to carbohydrate utilization gene content and growth phenotypes.


Bifidobacterium longum, beneficial microbes, comparative genomics, microbiome

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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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Microorganisms. 2019 Dec 18;8(1). pii: E7. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8010007. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.