Revealing the genetic traits of the foodborne microbial genus hafnia: Implications for the human gut microbiome

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Environ Microbiol. 2024 Apr;26(4):e16626. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.16626.

ABSTRACT

The bacterial genus Hafnia has recently attracted attention due to its complex metabolic features and host-interaction capabilities, which are associated with health benefits, primarily weight loss. However, significant gaps remain in our understanding of the genomic characteristics of this emerging microbial group. In this study, we utilized all available high-quality genomes of Hafnia alvei and Hafnia paralvei to uncover the broad distribution of Hafnia in human and honeybee guts, as well as in dairy products, by analysing 1068 metagenomic datasets. We then investigated the genetic traits related to Hafnia’s production of vitamins and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) through a comparative genomics analysis that included all dominant bacterial species in the three environments under study. Our findings underscore the extensive metabolic capabilities of Hafnia, particularly in the production of vitamins such as thiamine (B1), nicotinate (B3), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), cobalamin (B12), and menaquinone (K2). Additionally, Hafnia demonstrated a conserved genetic makeup associated with SCFA production, including acetate, propanoate, and butanoate. These metabolic traits were further confirmed using RNAseq analyses of a newly isolated H. paralvei strain T10. Overall, our study illuminates the ecological distribution and genetic attributes of this bacterial genus, which is of increasing scientific and industrial relevance.

PMID:38646847 | DOI:10.1111/1462-2920.16626