• The bacterial communities of little cigars and cigarillos are dynamic over time and varying storage conditions

      Smyth, E.M.; Hittle, L.E.; Mongodin, E.F. (Frontiers Media S.A., 2019)
      Despite their potential importance with regard to tobacco-related health outcomes, as well as their hypothesized role in the production of tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines, bacterial constituents of tobacco products lack characterization. Specifically, to our knowledge, there has been no comprehensive characterization of the effects of storage conditions on the bacterial communities associated with little cigars and cigarillos. To address this knowledge gap, we characterized the bacterial community composition of the tobacco and wrapper components of the following four products: Swisher Sweets Original; Swisher Sweets, Sweet Cherry; Cheyenne Cigars Full Flavor 100’s; and Cheyenne Menthol Box. Each product was stored under three different conditions of temperature and relative humidity to mimic different user storage conditions: room (20°C 50% RH), refrigerator (5°C 18% RH) and pocket (25°C 30% RH). On days 0, 5, 9 and 14, subsamples were collected, the wrapper and tobacco were separated, and their total DNA was extracted separately and purified. Resulting DNA was then used in PCR assays targeting the V3 V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene, followed by sequencing using Illumina HiSeq 300bp PE. Resulting sequences were processed using the Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME) software package, followed by analyses in R using the Phyloseq and Vegan packages. A single bacterial phylum, Firmicutes, dominated in the wrapper subsamples whereas the tobacco subsamples were dominated by Proteobacteria. Cheyenne Menthol Box (CMB) samples were characterized by significant differential abundances for 23 bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in tobacco subsamples and 27 OTUs in the wrapper subsamples between day 0 and day 14 under all conditions. OTUs from the genera Acinetobacter and Bacillus significantly increased in the CMB tobacco subsamples, and OTUs from Bacillus, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, and Enterococcus significantly increased in the CMB wrapper subsamples over time. These initial results suggest that the bacterial communities of little cigars and cigarillos are dynamic over time and varying storage conditions. Copyright 2019 Smyth, Chattopadhyay, Babik, Reid, Chopyk, Malayil, Kulkarni, Hittle, Clark, Sapkota and Mongodin.
    • Little cigars and cigarillos harbor diverse bacterial communities that differ between the tobacco and the wrapper

      Chattopadhyay, S.; Smyth, E.M.; Kulkarni, P. (Public Library of Science, 2019)
      Despite their potential importance with regard to infectious and chronic diseases among tobacco users, microbial constituents of tobacco products lack characterization. Specifically, to our knowledge, there are no data describing the bacterial diversity of little cigars or cigarillos. To address this knowledge gap, we tested four brands of little cigars and cigarillos. Tobacco and wrapper subsamples (n = 132) were separately subjected to DNA extraction, followed by PCR amplification of the V3V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene, and sequencing using Illumina HiSeq. Sequences were analyzed using QIIME and Phyloseq implemented in R. We identified 2,681 operational taxonomic units across all products. Significant differences in alpha and beta diversity were observed between Swisher Sweets and Cheyenne products. Alpha and beta diversity was also significantly different between tobacco and wrapper subsamples within the same product. Beta diversity analyses of only tobacco samples identified no significant differences in the bacterial microbiota of different lots of the same products; however, the microbiota in the wrapper differed significantly across lots for all brands. Overall, Firmicutes were found to dominate in the wrapper, whereas Proteobacteria were most abundant in the tobacco. At the genus level, Bacillus and Lactobacillus dominated in the wrappers, and Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas dominated in the tobacco. Our findings suggest that the bacterial microbiota of little cigars and cigarillos is diverse and differs significantly between the tobacco and the wrapper, and across brands. Future work is necessary to evaluate the potential public health implications of these findings.