Introduction: The respiratory airways harbor a complex succession of ecological niches with distinct but related bacterial communities. Particular challenges of respiratory microbiome research have led to limited scientific output compared to other human microbiomes. Areas covered: In this review, we summarize the current state of knowledge of the bacterial respiratory microbiome, with a particular focus on associations between the respiratory microbiome and lower respiratory tract conditions. Expert commentary: There is growing evidence that the respiratory microbiome is associated with lower respiratory infectious diseases and related conditions. Most respiratory microbiome reports are metataxonomic cross-sectional or case-control studies with relatively small sample sizes. Large, prospective projects with metatranscriptomics or metabolomics approach are needed to unravel the effect of the respiratory microbiome on health-related conditions. Moreover, standardization in sampling, library preparation, sequencing techniques and data analysis should be encouraged.
- 16S rRNA
- Lower respiratory tract infections
- Next-generation sequencing
- Respiratory microbiome