The Faecal Microbiome of the Wild European Badger Meles melesA Comparison Against Other Wild Omnivorous Mammals from Across the Globe

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number363
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Microbiology
Issue number12
Early online date17 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2022
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Here we investigate the faecal microbiome of wild European badgers Meles meles using samples collected at post-mortem as part of the All Wales Badger Found Dead study. This is the first published characterisation of the badger microbiome. We initially undertook a sex-matched age comparison between the adult and cub microbiomes, based on sequencing the V3–V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Analysis used the QIIME 2 pipeline utilising DADA2 and the Silva database for taxonomy assignment. Fusobacteria appeared to be more abundant in the microbiomes of the cubs than the adults although no significant difference was seen in alpha or beta diversity between the adult and cub badger microbiomes. Comparisons were also made against other wild, omnivorous, mammals’ faecal microbiomes using publicly available data. Significant differences were seen in both alpha and beta diversity between the microbiomes from different species. As a wildlife species of interest to the disease bovine tuberculosis, knowledge of the faecal microbiome could assist in identification of infected badgers. Our work here suggests that, if comparisons were made between the faeces of bTB infected and non-infected badgers, age may not have a significant impact on the microbiome.


  • Animals, Cattle, Feces/microbiology, Microbiota, Mustelidae/microbiology, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics, Tuberculosis, Bovine/microbiology