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Impact of Hygiene on Early Gut Colonisation With Lactobacilli and Staphylococci in Infants

Posted:  Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Early Life Colonisation With Lactobacilli and Staphylococci: Effects of Hygiene

A double-blind, randomised, prospective study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition assessed the mode of delivery and the impact of type-of-feeding on gut microbiota.

The study included 21- to 30-day-old vaginally born healthy term infants who were exclusively formula-fed. The infants received routine cow’s milk–based formula (control) or the same formula containing 4 g/L (1:1 ratio) of a blend of prebiotics polydextrose (PDX) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS). A group of exclusively breast-fed (BF) infants were used as reference. Stool samples of the infants were collected at baseline and after 30 and 60 days of feeding. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to assess faecal bacteria. The trial focused on evaluating infant’s faeces for the presence of lactobacilli and Staphylococcus aureus, which are also present in breast milk.

In the control, PDX/GOS, and BF groups, the baseline-adjusted means for log10 colony-forming unit per gram faeces of total lactobacilli were 8.37 (7.97–8.76), 8.46 (8.07–8.85), and 8.42 (8.02–8.82), respectively. Although among the groups the difference was not significant during the follow-up, a significant difference between the PDX/GOS group and the control group was observed in the pairwise comparisons. Colonisation rate with Staphylococcus aureus at 30 and 60 days of feeding was significantly lower in the control group compared to the BF group and in the PDX/GOS group compared to the BF group.

Bacteria such as lactobacilli and staphylococci found in breast milk can also be found in infant faeces. Addition of prebiotics to formula may increase the population of beneficial microbes in the gut closer to that of breast-fed infants. Harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus present in breast milk may assist in optimising early gut colonisation and in educating the coevolving immune system.

News source - Salminen S, Endo A, Isolauri E, et al. Early Gut Colonization With Lactobacilli and Staphylococcus in Infants: The Hygiene Hypothesis Extended. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2016;62(1):80–6.