US nativity and dietary acculturation impact the gut microbiome in a diverse US population

Brandilyn A. Peters, Stella S. Yi, Jeannette M. Beasley, Emilia N. Cobbs, Hee Sun Choi, Dia B. Beggs, Richard B. Hayes, Jiyoung Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known regarding the impact of immigrant acculturation on the gut microbiome. We characterized differences in the gut microbiome between racially/ethnically diverse US immigrant and US-born groups, and determined the impact of dietary acculturation on the microbiome. Stool samples were collected from 863 US residents, including US-born (315 White, 93 Black, 40 Hispanic) and foreign-born (105 Hispanic, 264 Korean) groups. We determined dietary acculturation from dissimilarities based on food frequency questionnaires, and used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to characterize the microbiome. Gut microbiome composition differed across study groups, with the largest difference between foreign-born Koreans and US-born Whites, and significant differences also observed between foreign-born and US-born Hispanics. Differences in sub-operational taxonomic unit (s-OTU) abundance between foreign-born and US-born groups tended to be distinct from differences between US-born groups. Bacteroides plebeius, a seaweed-degrading bacterium, was strongly enriched in foreign-born Koreans, while Prevotella copri and Bifidobacterium adolescentis were strongly enriched in foreign-born Koreans and Hispanics, compared with US-born Whites. Dietary acculturation in foreign-born participants was associated with specific s-OTUs, resembling abundance in US-born Whites; e.g., a Bacteroides plebeius s-OTU was depleted in highly diet-acculturated Koreans. In summary, we observed that US nativity is a determinant of the gut microbiome in a US resident population. Dietary acculturation may result in loss of native species in immigrants, though further research is necessary to explore whether acculturation-related microbiome alterations have consequences for immigrant health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1639-1650
Number of pages12
JournalISME Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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