Publications by authors named "Hans Reschreiter"

3 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Hallstatt miners consumed blue cheese and beer during the Iron Age and retained a non-Westernized gut microbiome until the Baroque period.

Curr Biol 2021 Dec 13;31(23):5149-5162.e6. Epub 2021 Oct 13.

Prehistoric Department, Museum of Natural History Vienna, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

We subjected human paleofeces dating from the Bronze Age to the Baroque period (18 century AD) to in-depth microscopic, metagenomic, and proteomic analyses. The paleofeces were preserved in the underground salt mines of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hallstatt in Austria. This allowed us to reconstruct the diet of the former population and gain insights into their ancient gut microbiome composition. Our dietary survey identified bran and glumes of different cereals as some of the most prevalent plant fragments. This highly fibrous, carbohydrate-rich diet was supplemented with proteins from broad beans and occasionally with fruits, nuts, or animal food products. Due to these traditional dietary habits, all ancient miners up to the Baroque period have gut microbiome structures akin to modern non-Westernized individuals whose diets are also mainly composed of unprocessed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. This may indicate a shift in the gut community composition of modern Westernized populations due to quite recent dietary and lifestyle changes. When we extended our microbial survey to fungi present in the paleofeces, in one of the Iron Age samples, we observed a high abundance of Penicillium roqueforti and Saccharomyces cerevisiae DNA. Genome-wide analysis indicates that both fungi were involved in food fermentation and provides the first molecular evidence for blue cheese and beer consumption in Iron Age Europe.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
December 2021

Bronze Age meat industry: ancient mitochondrial DNA analyses of pig bones from the prehistoric salt mines of Hallstatt (Austria).

BMC Res Notes 2018 Apr 13;11(1):243. Epub 2018 Apr 13.

Central Research Laboratories, Museum of Natural History Vienna, Burgring 7, 1010, Vienna, Austria.

Objective: In the Bronze Age Hallstatt metropolis ('Salzkammergut' region, Upper Austria), salt richness enabled the preservation of pork meat to sustain people's livelihood suggesting an organized meat production industry on a yearly basis of hundreds of pigs. To pattern the geographic and temporal framework of the early management of pig populations in the surrounding areas of Hallstatt, we want to gain insights into the phylogeographic network based on DNA sequence variation among modern pigs, wild boars and prehistoric (likely) domestic pigs.

Results: In this pilot study, we successfully adapted ancient DNA extraction and sequencing approaches for the analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in ten prehistoric porcine teeth specimens. Minimum-spanning network analyses revealed unique mitochondrial control region DNA haplotypes ranging within the variation of modern domestic pig and wild boar lineages and even shared haplotypes between prehistoric and modern domestic pigs and wild boars were observed.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source Listing
April 2018

Biodeterioration Risk Threatens the 3100 Year Old Staircase of Hallstatt (Austria): Possible Involvement of Halophilic Microorganisms.

PLoS One 2016 17;11(2):e0148279. Epub 2016 Feb 17.

Department of Biotechnology, VIBT-Vienna Institute of BioTechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.

Background: The prosperity of Hallstatt (Salzkammergut region, Austria) is based on the richness of salt in the surrounding mountains and salt mining, which is documented as far back as 1500 years B.C. Substantial archaeological evidence of Bronze and Iron Age salt mining has been discovered, with a wooden staircase (1108 B.C.) being one of the most impressive and well preserved finds. However, after its discovery, fungal mycelia have been observed on the surface of the staircase, most probably due to airborne contamination after its find.

Objective: As a basis for the further preservation of this valuable object, the active micro-flora was examined to investigate the presence of potentially biodegradative microorganisms.

Results: Most of the strains isolated from the staircase showed to be halotolerant and halophilic microorganisms, due to the saline environment of the mine. Results derived from culture-dependent assays revealed a high fungal diversity, including both halotolerant and halophilic fungi, the most dominant strains being members of the genus Phialosimplex (synonym: Aspergillus). Additionally, some typical cellulose degraders, namely Stachybotrys sp. and Cladosporium sp. were detected. Numerous bacterial strains were isolated and identified as members of 12 different genera, most of them being moderately halophilic species. The most dominant isolates affiliated with species of the genera Halovibrio and Marinococcus. Halophilic archaea were also isolated and identified as species of the genera Halococcus and Halorubrum. Molecular analyses complemented the cultivation assays, enabling the identification of some uncultivable archaea of the genera Halolamina, Haloplanus and Halobacterium. Results derived from fungi and bacteria supported those obtained by cultivation methods, exhibiting the same dominant members in the communities.

Conclusion: The results clearly showed the presence of some cellulose degraders that may become active if the requirements for growth and the environmental conditions turn suitable; therefore, these microorganisms must be regarded as a threat to the wood.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

July 2016