Microbial Ecology

, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 1048–1066 | Cite as

Population and Culture Age Influence the Microbiome Profiles of House Dust Mites

  • Jan HubertEmail author
  • Marta Nesvorna
  • Jan Kopecky
  • Tomas Erban
  • Pavel Klimov
Invertebrate Microbiology


Interactions with microorganisms might enable house dust mites (HDMs) to derive nutrients from difficult-to-digest structural proteins and to flourish in human houses. We tested this hypothesis by investigating the effects of changes in the mite culture growth and population of two HDM species on HDM microbiome composition and fitness. Growing cultures of laboratory and industrial allergen-producing populations of Dermatophagoides farinae (DFL and DFT, respectively) and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DPL and DPT, respectively) were sampled at four time points. The symbiotic microorganisms of the mites were characterized by DNA barcode sequencing and quantified by qPCR using universal/specific primers. The population growth of mites and nutrient contents of mite bodies were measured and correlated with the changes in bacteria in the HDM microbiome. The results showed that both the population and culture age significantly influenced the microbiome profiles. Cardinium formed 93% and 32% of the total sequences of the DFL and DFT bacterial microbiomes, respectively, but this bacterial species was less abundant in the DPL and DPT microbiomes. Staphylococcus abundance was positively correlated with increased glycogen contents in the bodies of mites, and increased abundances of Aspergillus, Candida, and Kocuria were correlated with increased lipid contents in the bodies of mites. The xerophilic fungus Wallemia accounted for 39% of the fungal sequences in the DPL microbiome, but its abundance was low in the DPT, DFL, and DFT microbiomes. With respect to the mite culture age, we made three important observations: the mite population growth from young cultures was 5–8-fold higher than that from old cultures; specimens from old cultures had greater abundances of fungi and bacteria in their bodies; and yeasts predominated in the gut contents of specimens from young cultures, whereas filamentous mycelium prevailed in specimens from old cultures. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that mites derive nutrients through associations with microorganisms.


Nutrition Bacteria Fungi Yeasts Gut Symbiosis Diet Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus Dermatophagoides farinae 



The authors are grateful to Barry OConnor and the anonymous reviewers for providing useful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. We thank Marie Bostlova, Martin Markovic, Bc. Vit Molva, and Jan Hubert Jr. for their technical assistance; Prof. Krzysztof Solarz for the laboratory mite culture; and RNDr. Alexandr Zgarbovsky for the industrial allergen-producing mite cultures.

Funding Information

JH, TE, and MN were supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GACR) as part of Project No. 17-12068S. PBK was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 16-14-10109), the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (No. 6.1933.2014/K Project Code 1933), and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (No. 15-04-0s5185-a).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

248_2018_1294_MOESM1_ESM.docx (766 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 766 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Crop Research InstitutePrague 6-RuzyneCzechia
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Institute of BiologyUniversity of TyumenTyumenRussia

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