Skip to main content Accessibility help

Gut Prevotella as a possible biomarker of diet and its eubiotic versus dysbiotic roles: a comprehensive literature review

  • Gabriela Precup (a1) and Dan-Cristian Vodnar (a1)


The gut microbiota has a profound impact on human health. Emerging data show that dietary patterns are associated with different communities of bacterial species within the gut. Prevotella species have been correlated with plant-rich diets, abundant in carbohydrates and fibres. Dysbiosis within the gut ecosystem has been associated with the development of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, the metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, type 1 diabetes, allergies and other diseases. The purpose of this comprehensive literature review was to evaluate the available data on the impact of diet on the Prevotella genus, as a dietary fibre fermenter in the gut as well as its implications as a potential biomarker for homeostasis or disease state through its metabolite signature. Studies were identified by conducting PubMed, Web of Science Core Collection and Google Scholar electronic searches. We found eighty-five publications reporting the impact of dietary patterns on gut microbial communities, including Prevotella or Prevotella/Bacteroides ratio in particular. Moreover, the role of Prevotella species on health status was also evaluated. Prevotella possess a high genetic diversity, representing one of the important groups found in the oral cavity and large intestine of man. The gut commensal Prevotella bacteria contribute to polysaccharide breakdown, being dominant colonisers of agrarian societies. However, studies also suggested a potential role of Prevotella species as intestinal pathobionts. Further metagenomic studies are needed in order to reveal health- or disease-modulating properties of Prevotella species in the gut.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dan-Cristian Vodnar, email


Hide All
1.Wang, B, Yao, M, Lv, L, et al. (2017) The human microbiota in health and disease. Eng 3, 7182.
2.Trompette, A, Gollwitzer, ES, Yadava, K, et al. (2014) Gut microbiota metabolism of dietary fibre influences allergic airway disease and hematopoiesis. Nat Med 20, 159.
3.Kobyliak, N, Virchenko, O & Falalyeyeva, T (2015) Pathophysiological role of host microbiota in the development of obesity. Nutr J 15, 43.
4.Liu, H-N, Wu, H, Chen, Y-Z, et al. (2017) Altered molecular signature of intestinal microbiota in irritable bowel syndrome patients compared with healthy controls: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Dig Liver Dis 49, 331337.
5.Gomes, AC, Bueno, AA, de Souza, RGM, et al. (2014) Gut microbiota, probiotics and diabetes. Nutr J 13, 60.
6.Hobbs, ME, Williams, HJ, Hillerich, B, et al. (2014) l-Galactose metabolism in Bacteroides vulgatus from the human gut microbiota. Biochem Am Chem Soc 53, 46614670.
7.Actis, G (2014) The gut microbiome. Inflam Allergy-Drug Targets 13, 217223.
8.Fernandes, J, Su, W, Rahat-Rozenbloom, S, et al. (2014) Adiposity, gut microbiota and faecal short chain fatty acids are linked in adult humans. Nutr Diabetes 4, e121.
9.Ramakrishna, BS (2013) Role of the gut microbiota in human nutrition and metabolism. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 28, 917.
10.Senghor, B, Sokhna, C, Ruimy, R, et al. (2018) Gut microbiota diversity according to dietary habits and geographical provenance. Hum Microbiome J 7–8, 19.
11.Conlon, MA & Bird, AR (2014) The impact of diet and lifestyle on gut microbiota and human health. Nutrients 7, 1744.
12.Martínez, I, Stegen, JC, Maldonado-Gómez, MX, et al. (2015) The gut microbiota of rural papua new guineans: composition, diversity patterns, and ecological processes. Cell Rep 11, 527538.
13.De Filippis, F, Pellegrini, N, Vannini, L, et al. (2016) High-level adherence to a Mediterranean diet beneficially impacts the gut microbiota and associated metabolome. Gut 65, 18121821.
14.Nakayama, J, Yamamoto, A, Palermo-Conde, LA, et al. (2017) Impact of westernized diet on gut microbiota in children on Leyte Island. Front Microbiol 8, 197.
15.Schnorr, SL, Candela, M, Rampelli, S, et al. (2014) Gut microbiome of the Hadza hunter–gatherers. Nat Commun 5, 3654.
16.Nakayama, J, Watanabe, K, Jiang, J, et al. (2015) Diversity in gut bacterial community of school-age children in Asia. Sci Rep 5, 8397.
17.Obregon-Tito, AJ, Tito, RY, Metcalf, J, et al. (2015) Subsistence strategies in traditional societies distinguish gut microbiomes. Nat Commun 6, 6505.
18.Gomez, A, Petrzelkova, KJ, Burns, MB, et al. (2016) Gut microbiome of coexisting BaAka Pygmies and Bantu reflects gradients of traditional subsistence patterns. Cell Rep 14, 21422153.
19.Dubois, G, Girard, C, Lapointe, F-J, et al. (2017) The Inuit gut microbiome is dynamic over time and shaped by traditional foods. Microbiome 5, 151.
20.De Filippo, C, Di Paola, M, Ramazzotti, M, et al. (2017) Diet, environments, and gut microbiota. A preliminary investigation in children living in rural and urban Burkina Faso and Italy. Front Microbiol 8, 1979.
21.Mancabelli, L, Milani, C, Lugli, GA, et al. (2017) Meta-analysis of the human gut microbiome from urbanized and pre-agricultural populations. Environ Microbiol 19, 13791390.
22.Wang, Y, Ames, NP, Tun, HM, et al. (2016) High molecular weight barley β-glucan alters gut microbiota toward reduced cardiovascular disease risk. Front Microbiol 7, 129.
23.Larsen, JM (2017) The immune response to Prevotella bacteria in chronic inflammatory disease. Immunology 151, 363374.
24.Geva-Zatorsky, N, Sefik, E, Kua, L, et al. (2017) Mining the human gut microbiota for immunomodulatory organisms. Cell 168, 928943.e11.
25.Ley, RE (2015) Gut microbiota in 2015: Prevotella in the gut: choose carefully. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 13, 69.
26.Zhu, A, Sunagawa, S, Mende, DR, et al. (2015) Inter-individual differences in the gene content of human gut bacterial species. Genome Biology 16, 82.
27.Moher, D, Liberati, A, Tetzlaff, J, et al. (2010) Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. International J Surgery 8, 336341.
28.Arumugam, M, Raes, J, Pelletier, E, et al. (2011) Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Nature. 473, 174.
29.Wu, GD, Chen, J, Hoffmann, C, et al. (2011) Linking long-term dietary patterns with gut microbial enterotypes. Science 334, 105108.
30.Costea, PI, Hildebrand, F, Manimozhiyan, A, et al. (2018) Enterotypes in the landscape of gut microbial community composition. Nat Microbiol 3, 8.
31.Dehingia, M, Talukdar, NC, Talukdar, R, et al. (2015) Gut bacterial diversity of the tribes of India and comparison with the worldwide data. Sci Rep 22, 18563.
32.Li, J, Fu, R, Yang, Y, et al. (2018) A metagenomic approach to dissect the genetic composition of enterotypes in Han Chinese and two Muslim groups. Syst Appl Microbiol 41, 12.
33.Deschasaux, M, Bouter, KE, Prodan, A, et al. (2018) Depicting the composition of gut microbiota in a population with varied ethnic origins but shared geography. Nat Med 24, 1526.
34.Shankar, V, Gouda, M, Moncivaiz, J, et al. (2017) Differences in gut metabolites and microbial composition and functions between Egyptian and US children are consistent with their diets. Msystems 2, e0016916.
35.Yatsunenko, T, Rey, FE, Manary, MJ, et al. (2012) Human gut microbiome viewed across age and geography. Nature 486, 222.
36.Gorvitovskaia, A, Holmes, SP & Huse, SM (2016) Interpreting Prevotella and Bacteroides as biomarkers of diet and lifestyle. Microbiome 4, 15.
37.Requena, T, Martínez-Cuesta, MC & Peláez, C (2018) Diet and microbiota linked in health and disease. Food Funct 9, 688704.
38.Ferrocino, I, Di Cagno, R, De Angelis, M, et al. (2015) Fecal microbiota in healthy subjects following omnivore, vegetarian and vegan diets: culturable populations and rRNA DGGE profiling. PLOS ONE 10, e0128669.
39.Lopez-Legarrea, P, Fuller, NR, Zulet, MA, et al. (2014) The influence of Mediterranean, carbohydrate and high protein diets on gut microbiota composition in the treatment of obesity and associated inflammatory state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 23, 360368.
40.Tosti, V, Bertozzi, B & Fontana, L (2017) Health benefits of the mediterranean diet: metabolic and molecular mechanisms. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 73, 318326.
41.Santoro, A, Pini, E, Scurti, M, et al. (2014) Combating inflammaging through a Mediterranean whole diet approach: the NU-AGE project’s conceptual framework and design. Mech Ageing Dev 136, 313.
42.Albenberg, LG & Wu, GD (2014) Diet and the intestinal microbiome: associations, functions, and implications for health and disease. Gastroenterol 146, 15641572.
43.Gutiérrez-Díaz, I, Fernández-Navarro, T, Sánchez, B, et al. (2016) Mediterranean diet and faecal microbiota: a transversal study. Food Funct 7, 23472356.
44.Wu, GD, Compher, C, Chen, EZ, et al. (2014) Comparative metabolomics in vegans and omnivores reveal constraints on diet-dependent gut microbiota metabolite production. Gut 65, 308209.
45.Ruengsomwong, S, Korenori, Y, Sakamoto, N, et al. (2014) Senior Thai fecal microbiota comparison between vegetarians and non-vegetarians using PCR-DGGE and real-time PCR. J Microbiol Biotechnol 24, 10261033.
46.Egshatyan, L, Kashtanova, D, Popenko, A, et al. (2016) Gut microbiota and diet in patients with different glucose tolerance. Endocr Connect 5, 19.
47.Matijašić, BB, Obermajer, T, Lipoglavšek, L, et al. (2014) Association of dietary type with fecal microbiota in vegetarians and omnivores in Slovenia. Eur J Nutr 53, 10511064.
48.Cecchini, D, Laville, E, Laguerre, S, et al. (2013) Functional metagenomics reveals novel pathways of prebiotic breakdown by human gut bacteria. PLOS ONE 8, e72766.
49.Portune, KJ, Beaumont, M, Davila, AM, et al. (2016) Gut microbiota role in dietary protein metabolism and health-related outcomes: The two sides of the coin, Trends Food Sci Technol 57, 213232.
50.Neis, EP, Dejong, CH & Rensen, SS (2015) The role of microbial amino acid metabolism in host metabolism. Nutrients 7, 29302946.
51.Reichardt, N, Duncan, SH, Young, P, et al. (2014) Phylogenetic distribution of three pathways for propionate production within the human gut microbiota. ISME J 8, 13231335.
52.Chambers, ES, Viardot, A, Psichas, A, et al. (2014) Effects of targeted delivery of propionate to the human colon on appetite regulation, body weight maintenance and adiposity in overweight adults. Gut 64, 307913.
53.Den Besten, G, van Eunen, K, Groen, AK, et al. (2013) The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. J Lipid Res 54, 23252340.
54.Tremaroli, V & Backhed, F (2012) Functional interactions between the gut microbiota and host metabolism. Nature 489, 242249.
55.Chen, T, Long, W, Zhang, C, et al. (2017) Fibre-utilizing capacity varies in Prevotella-versus Bacteroides-dominated gut microbiota. Sci Rep 7, 2594.
56.den Besten, G, van Eunen, K, Groen, AK, et al. (2013) The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. J Lipid Res 54, 23252340.
57.Frost, G, Sleeth, ML, Sahuri-Arisoylu, M, et al. (2014) The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. Nat Commun 5, 3611.
58.Zhu, W, Gregory, JC, Org, E, et al. (2016) Gut microbial metabolite TMAO enhances platelet hyperreactivity and thrombosis risk. Cell 165, 111124.
59.Schugar, RC, Shih, DM, Warrier, M, et al. (2017) The TMAO-producing enzyme flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 regulates obesity and the beiging of white adipose tissue. Cell Rep 19, 24512461.
60.Chen, ML, Yi, L, Zhang, Y, et al. (2016) Resveratrol attenuates trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO)-induced atherosclerosis by regulating TMAO synthesis and bile acid metabolism via remodeling of the gut microbiota. MBio 7, e02210e02215.
61.Moreno-Indias, I, Sánchez-Alcoholado, L, García-Fuentes, E, et al. (2016) Insulin resistance is associated with specific gut microbiota in appendix samples from morbidly obese patients. Am J Transl Res 8, 5672.
62.Hu, H-J, Park, S-G, Jang, HB, et al. (2015) Obesity alters the microbial community profile in Korean adolescents. PLOS ONE 10, e0134333.
63.Pedersen, HK, Gudmundsdottir, V, Nielsen, HB, et al. (2016) Human gut microbes impact host serum metabolome and insulin sensitivity. Nature 535, 376.
64.Li, J, Zhao, F, Wang, Y, et al. (2017) Gut microbiota dysbiosis contributes to the development of hypertension. Microbiome 5, 14.
65.Michail, S, Lin, M, Frey, MR, et al. (2015) Altered gut microbial energy and metabolism in children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 91, 19.
66.Haro, C, Garcia-Carpintero, S, Alcala-Diaz, JF, et al. (2016) The gut microbial community in metabolic syndrome patients is modified by diet. J Nutri Biochem 27, 2731.
67.Borgo, F, Verduci, E, Riva, A, et al. (2017) Relative abundance in bacterial and fungal gut microbes in obese children: a case control study. Childhood Obesity 13, 7884.
68.Mejía-León, ME, Petrosino, JF, Ajami, NT, et al. (2014) Fecal microbiota imbalance in Mexican children with type 1 diabetes. Sci Rep 4, 3814.
69.Forslund, K, Hildebrand, F, Nielsen, T, et al. (2015) Disentangling type 2 diabetes and metformin treatment signatures in the human gut microbiota. Nature 528, 262.
70.Hjorth, M, Roager, HM, Larsen, T, et al. (2018) Pre-treatment microbial Prevotella-to-Bacteroides ratio, determines body fat loss success during a 6-month randomized controlled diet intervention. Int J Obesity 42, 580.
71.Kovatcheva-Datchary, P, Nilsson, A, Akrami, R, et al. (2015) Dietary fibre-induced improvement in glucose metabolism is associated with increased abundance of Prevotella. Cell Metabol 22, 971982.
72.De Vadder, F, Kovatcheva-Datchary, P, Zitoun, C, et al. (2016) Microbiota-produced succinate improves glucose homeostasis via intestinal gluconeogenesis. Cell Met 24, 151157.
73.Vitaglione, P, Mennella, I, Ferracane, R, et al. (2014) Whole-grain wheat consumption reduces inflammation in a randomized controlled trial on overweight and obese subjects with unhealthy dietary and lifestyle behaviors: role of polyphenols bound to cereal dietary fibre. Am J Clin Nutr 101, 251261.
74.Kelly, TN, Bazzano, LA, Ajami, NJ, et al. (2016) Gut microbiome associates with lifetime cardiovascular disease risk profile among Bogalusa Heart Study participants. Circ Res 119, 956964.
75.Henao-Mejia, J, Elinav, E, Jin, C, et al. (2012) Inflammasome- mediated dysbiosis regulates progression of NAFLD and obesity. Nature 482, 179185.
76.Graf, D, Di Cagno, R, Fåk, F, et al. (2015) Contribution of diet to the composition of the human gut microbiota. Microb Ecol Health Dis 26, 26164.
77.Gargari, G, Taverniti, V, Balzaretti, S, et al. (2016) Four-week consumption of a Bifidobacterium bifidum strain modulates dominant intestinal bacterial taxa and fecal butyrate in healthy adults. Appl Environ Microbiol 82, 58505859.
78.Shortt, C, Hasselwander, O, Meynier, A, et al. (2017) Systematic review of the effects of the intestinal microbiota on selected nutrients and non-nutrients. Eur J Nutr 57, 2549
79.Prieto, I, Hidalgo, M, Segarra, AB, et al. (2018) Influence of a diet enriched with virgin olive oil or butter on mouse gut microbiota and its correlation to physiological and biochemical parameters related to metabolic syndrome. PLOS ONE 13, e0190368.
80.Bibbò, S, Dore, MP, Pes, GM, et al. (2017) Is there a role for gut microbiota in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis? Ann Med 49, 1122.
81.Frost, G, Sleeth, ML, Sahuri-Arisoylu, M, et al. (2014) The short-chain fatty acid acetate reduces appetite via a central homeostatic mechanism. Nat Commun 5, 3611.
82.Kang, C, Zhang, Y, Zhu, X, et al. (2016) Healthy subjects differentially respond to dietary capsaicin correlating with specific gut enterotypes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 101, 46814689.
83.Haro, C, García-Carpintero, S, Rangel-Zúñiga, OA, et al. (2017) Consumption of two healthy dietary patterns restored microbiota dysbiosis in obese patients with metabolic dysfunction. Mol Nutr Food Res 61, 1700300.
84.Tandon, D, Haque, MM, Shaikh, S, et al. (2018) A snapshot of gut microbiota of an adult urban population from Western region of India. PLOS ONE 13, e0195643.
85.Liao, M, Xie, Y, Mao, Y, et al. (2018) Comparative analyses of fecal microbiota in Chinese isolated Yao population, minority Zhuang and rural Han by 16sRNA sequencing. Sci Rep 8, 1142.
86.Jain, A, Li, XH & Chen, WN (2018) Similarities and differences in gut microbiome composition correlate with dietary patterns of Indian and Chinese adults. AMB Express 8, 104.
87.Li, H, Li, T, Li, X, et al. (2018) Gut microbiota in Tibetan herdsmen reflects the degree of urbanization. Front Microbiol 9, 1745.
88.Sandberg, J, Kovatcheva-Datchary, P, Björck, I, et al. (2018) Abundance of gut Prevotella at baseline and metabolic response to barley prebiotics. Eur J Nutr (epublication ahead of print version 25 July 2018).
89.Qian, L, Gao, R, Hong, L, et al. (2018) Association analysis of dietary habits with gut microbiota of a native Chinese community. Exp Ther Med 16, 856866.
90.Kushugulova, A, Forslund, SK, Costea, PI, et al. (2018) Metagenomic analysis of gut microbial communities from a Central Asian population. BMJ Open 8, e021682.
91.Kashtanova, D, Tkacheva, O, Doudinskaya, E, et al. (2018) Gut microbiota in patients with different metabolic statuses: Moscow study. Microorganisms 6, 98.
92.Kumbhare, SV, Kumar, H, Chowdhury, SP, et al. (2017) A cross-sectional comparative study of gut bacterial community of Indian and Finnish children. Sci Rep 7, 10555.
93.Lan, D, Ji, W, Lin, B, et al. (2017) Correlations between gut microbiota community structures of Tibetans and geography. Sci Rep 7, 16982.
94.Girard, C, Tromas, N, Amyot, M, et al. (2017) Gut microbiome of the Canadian Arctic Inuit. mSphere 2, e0029716.
95.Fernández-Navarro, T, Salazar, N, Gutiérrez-Díaz, I, et al. (2017) Different intestinal microbial profile in over-weight and obese subjects consuming a diet with low content of fibre and antioxidants. Nutrients 9, 551.
96.Franco-de-Moraes, AC, Almeida-Pititto, B, Fernandes, G, et al. (2017) Worse inflammatory profile in omnivores than in vegetarians associates with the gut microbiota composition. Diabetol Metab Syndr 9, 62.
97.Marungruang, N, Tovar, J, Björck, I, et al. (2017) Improvement in cardiometabolic risk markers following a multifunctional diet is associated with gut microbial taxa in healthy overweight and obese subjects. Eur J Nutr 57, 29272936. Moraes, AC, Fernandes, GR, da Silva, IT, et al. (2017) Enterotype may drive the dietary-associated cardiometabolic risk factors. Front Cell Infect Microbiol 7, 47.
99.Li, K, Dan, Z, Gesang, L, et al. (2016) Comparative analysis of gut microbiota of native Tibetan and Han populations living at different altitudes. PLOS ONE 11, e0155863.
100.Balfegó, M, Canivell, S, Hanzu, FA, et al. (2016) Effects of sardine-enriched diet on metabolic control, inflammation and gut microbiota in drug-naïve patients with type 2 diabetes: a pilot randomized trial. Lipids Health Dis 15, 78.
101.Kao, CC, Cope, JL, Hsu, JW, et al. (2016) The microbiome, intestinal function, and arginine metabolism of healthy Indian women are different from those of American and Jamaican women. J Nutr 146, 706713.
102.Zhang, J, Guo, Z, Xue, Z, et al. (2015) A phylo-functional core of gut microbiota in healthy young Chinese cohorts across lifestyles, geography and ethnicities. ISME J 9, 1979.
103.Greenhill, AR, Tsuji, H, Ogata, K, et al. (2015) Characterization of the gut microbiota of Papua New Guineans using reverse transcription quantitative PCR. PLOS ONE 10, e0117427.
104.La-ongkham, O, Nakphaichit, M, Leelavatcharamas, V, et al. (2015) Distinct gut microbiota of healthy children from two different geographic regions of Thailand. Arch Microbiol 197, 561573.
105.Karl, JP, Fu, X, Wang, X, et al. (2015) Fecal menaquinone profiles of overweight adults are associated with gut microbiota composition during a gut microbiota-targeted dietary intervention. Am J Clin Nutr 102, 8493.
106.Tap, J, Furet, JP, Bensaada, M, et al. (2015) Gut microbiota richness promotes its stability upon increased dietary fibre intake in healthy adults. Environ Microbiol 17, 49544964.
107.Zhu, L, Liu, W, Alkhouri, R, et al. (2014) Structural changes in the gut microbiome of constipated patients. Physiol Genomics 46, 679686.
108.Fernandez-Raudales, D, Hoeflinger, JL, Bringe, NA, et al. (2012) Consumption of different soymilk formulations differentially affects the gut microbiomes of overweight and obese men. Gut Microbes 3, 490500.
109.Queipo-Ortuño, MI, Boto-Ordóñez, M, Murri, M, et al. (2012) Influence of red wine polyphenols and ethanol on the gut microbiota ecology and biochemical biomarkers. Am J Clin Nutr 95, 13231334.
110.Grzeskowiak, L, Collado, MC, Mangani, C, et al. (2012) Distinct gut microbiota in southeastern African and northern European infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 54, 812816.
111.Zhang, J, Guo, Z, Lim, AA, et al. (2014) Mongolians core gut microbiota and its correlation with seasonal dietary changes. Sci Rep 4, 5001.
112.Costabile, A, Kolida, S, Klinder, A, et al. (2010) A double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study to establish the bifidogenic effect of a very-long-chain inulin extracted from globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) in healthy human subjects. Br J Nutr 104, 10071017.
113.De Palma, G, Nadal, I, Medina, M, et al. (2010) Intestinal dysbiosis and reduced immunoglobulin-coated bacteria associated with coeliac disease in children. BMC Microbiol 10, 63.
114.De Filippo, C, Cavalieri, D, Di Paola, M, et al. (2010) Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci 107, 1469114696.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Precup and Vodnar supplementary material
Table S1

 Word (146 KB)
146 KB

Gut Prevotella as a possible biomarker of diet and its eubiotic versus dysbiotic roles: a comprehensive literature review

  • Gabriela Precup (a1) and Dan-Cristian Vodnar (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed