"Osmolality-Induced Competition Dynamics: Exploring the Effects of Prolonged PEG Consumption on Bacteria Populations in the Gut Microbiota'"
The gut microbiota is critical for maintaining human health, yet chronic intake of certain medications, such as polyethylene glycol (PEG), has the potential to perturb its equilibrium. In this study, we sought to elucidate the competitive dynamics between two bacterial families, Muribaculaceae and Bacteroidaceae, under the influence of altered osmolality due to protracted PEG consumption. Employing the classical competitive exclusion model, we scrutinized variations in the interaction and growth rates of these bacterial taxa as a function of increasing PEG concentrations. Our findings demonstrate that escalating PEG levels provoke significant alterations in the composition of commensal bacteria, with Muribaculaceae being disproportionately affected. The competitive interplay between the bacterial taxa is predominantly governed by their interaction rate; a heightened interaction rate results in intensified competition, corroborating our hypothesis. Muribaculaceae's elevated interaction rate is posited as the primary factor underlying its observed decline in abundance. This study not only provides a deeper understanding of the mechanisms through which PEG consumption disrupts gut microbiota homeostasis but also paves the way for future investigations focusing on the development of targeted interventions to counteract these detrimental effects.
Additional authors: Nick Cogan (Florida State University), Carolina Tropini (University of British Columbia)