Early development of the gut microbiota is a key facet of life and something we need to study all around the world: different diets, traditions and environments all have an effect on the developing infant’s gastrointestinal tract. In this presentation, David Mills explains the critical function of microbiota – teaching the immune system, synthesizing vitamins, defending against pathogens, producing a variety of signaling molecules and helping with the gut function in general.
Coming initially from the mother at birth, microbiota continues to be influenced by diet, host genetics and the environment, but the first 1000 days of life are critical. Disruption of this enrichment can negatively impact the health and development of the infant. The presentation covers research into the components of human milk, particularly HMOs, as well as correlations between fecal milk oligosaccharides and bifidobateria. It goes on to discuss the role of HMOs in protection from infection and resistance to antibiotics, which is a growing issue across the globe.