Isolation of Bifidobacteria from feces of chimpanzees in the wild
Kazunari Ushida, Yukie Uwatoko, Yoshikazu Adachi, Aly Gaspard Soumah, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
Intestinal bacteria in wild animals have not been thoroughly studied due to technical problems such as poor laboratory equipment in fi eld conditions. The lack of electricity, clean water, and availability of CO2 gas makes work with anaerobic cultures diffi cult. In the case of wild apes in Africa, even buildings are often lacking. However, these constraints can be overcome by the use of molecular-based techniques. Indeed, bacteriological surveys based on the 16S rRNA gene can be conducted in all research fi elds of wild apes if fresh feces are available. In a previous study, fresh feces were collected aseptically in ethanol to fi x bacteria for DNA preservation. After transportation to our laboratory in Kyoto, we successfully analyzed the bacterial 16S rRNA gene in the feces of chimpanzees in the wild (Fujita and Kageyama, 2007; Uenishi et al., 2007; Ushida, 2008). However, 16S rDNA-basis phylogenetic analyses of bacteria provide poor information on their functions in the intestine. Live bacterial cultures are essential to estimate their function in the physiology, particularly the nutrition, of the host (Gibson and Macfarlane, 1995).
In this report, we show the successful isolation of bifi dobacteria from the feces of wild chimpanzees living in the tropical forest of Bossou, Guinea (Matsuzawa, 2006), though the identifi cation of the isolates remains incomplete.