Glyphosate and its formulations Roundup Bioflow and RangerPro alter bacterial and fungal community composition in the rat caecum microbiome

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Frontiers in microbiology






glyphosate; microbiota (16S); mycobiome; pesticides; toxicity


The potential health consequences of glyphosate-induced gut microbiome alterations have become a matter of intense debate. As part of a multifaceted study investigating toxicity, carcinogenicity and multigenerational effects of glyphosate and its commercial herbicide formulations, we assessed changes in bacterial and fungal populations in the caecum microbiota of rats exposed prenatally until adulthood (13 weeks after weaning) to three doses of glyphosate (0.5, 5, 50 mg/kg body weight/day), or to the formulated herbicide products Roundup Bioflow and RangerPro at the same glyphosate-equivalent doses. Caecum bacterial microbiota were evaluated by 16S rRNA sequencing whilst the fungal population was determined by ITS2 amplicon sequencing. Results showed that both fungal and bacterial diversity were affected by the Roundup formulations in a dose-dependent manner, whilst glyphosate alone significantly altered only bacterial diversity. At taxa level, a reduction in Bacteroidota abundance, marked by alterations in the levels of and , was concomitant to increased levels of Firmicutes (e.g., , , ) and Actinobacteria (e.g., , or ) and also had their levels reduced by the pesticide treatments. Analysis of fungal composition indicated that the abundance of the rat gut commensal Ascomycota was reduced while the abundance of and were increased by exposure to the Roundup formulations, but not to glyphosate. Altogether, our data suggest that glyphosate and its Roundup RangerPro and Bioflow caused profound changes in caecum microbiome composition by affecting the fitness of major commensals, which in turn reduced competition and allowed opportunistic fungi to grow in the gut, in particular in animals exposed to the herbicide formulations. This further indicates that changes in gut microbiome composition might influence the long-term toxicity, carcinogenicity and multigenerational effects of glyphosate-based herbicides.


Environmental and Occupational Health