Bats are commonly regarded as vectors for viruses, but little is known about bacterial communities in bats and the possible role of bats in the transmission cycle of foodborne diseases. To gain more insight, microbial communities in fecal samples from 37 insectivorous bats of different species from the Netherlands were investigated by polymerase chain reaction and denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). Subsequently, 10 samples from the following bat species: common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus; n = 3), Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii; n = 3), serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus; n = 1), whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus; n = 1), Geoffroy's bat (Myotis emarginatus; n = 1) and Natterer's bat (Myotis nattereri; n = 1) were selected and used in bacterial 16S rDNA cloning and sequencing. The fecal microbiota in bats was found to be diverse with predominant bacterial genera Carnobacterium, Serratia, Pseudomonas, Enterococcus and Yersinia. The presence of opportunistic pathogens Citrobacter freundii, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Serratia fonticola and Rahnella aquatilis was also recorded. Based on cloning results, we found no proof that bats in the Netherlands are a major vector for the transmission of bacterial zoonotic diseases, although previous findings in literature reported isolation of foodborne pathogens from bats.
- microbial diversity