Differential response of digesta- and mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota to dietary insect meal during the seawater phase of Atlantic salmon


Intestinal digesta is commonly used for studying responses of microbiota to dietary shifts, yet evidence is accumulating that it represents an incomplete view of the intestinal microbiota. The present work aims to investigate the differences between digesta- and mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and how they may respond differently to dietary perturbations. In a 16-week seawater feeding trial, Atlantic salmon were fed either a commercially-relevant reference diet or an insect meal diet containing ~15% black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae meal. The digesta- and mucosa-associated distal intestinal microbiota were profiled by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Regardless of diet, we observed substantial differences between digesta- and mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota. Microbial richness and diversity were much higher in the digesta than the mucosa. The insect meal diet altered the distal intestinal microbiota resulting in higher microbial richness and diversity. The diet effect, however, depended on the sample origin. Digesta-associated intestinal microbiota showed more pronounced changes than the mucosa-associated microbiota. Multivariate association analyses identified two mucosa-enriched taxa, Brevinema andersonii and Spirochaetaceae, associated with the expression of genes related to immune responses and barrier function in the distal intestine, respectively. Our data show that salmon intestinal digesta and mucosa harbor microbial communities with clear differences. While feeding insects increased microbial richness and diversity in both digesta- and mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota, mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota seems more resilient to variations in the diet composition. To fully unveil the response of intestinal microbiota to dietary changes, concurrent profiling of digesta- and mucosa-associated intestinal microbiota is recommended whenever feasible. Specific taxa enriched in the intestinal mucosa are associated to gene expression related to immune responses and barrier function. Detailed studies are needed on the ecological and functional significance of taxa associated to intestinal microbiota dwelling on the mucosa.

Animal Microbiome