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Keywords:

  • Gut microbiota;
  • Bifidobacteria;
  • Infancy;
  • Breastfeeding;
  • Prebiotics

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess the quantitative and qualitative differences of the gut microbiota in infants. We evaluated gut microbiota at the age of 6 months in 32 infants who were either exclusively breast-fed, formula-fed, nursed by a formula supplemented with prebiotics (a mixture of fructo- and galacto-oligosaccharides) or breast-fed by mothers who had been given probiotics. The Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, Clostridium and Lactobacillus/Enterococcus microbiota were assessed by the fluorescence in situ hybridization, and Bifidobacterium species were further characterized by PCR. Total number of bifidobacteria was lower among the formula-fed group than in other groups (P= 0.044). Total amounts of the other bacteria were comparable between the groups. The specific Bifidobacterium microbiota composition of the breast-fed infants was achieved in infants receiving prebiotic supplemented formula. This would suggest that early gut Bifidobacterium microbiota can be modified by special diets up to the age of 6 months.