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Infant microbiome development is largely unaffected by diet

Infant microbiome development is largely unaffected by diet


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Although breastfed and formula-fed infants have different metabolite profiles, diet has only a modest effect on microbiome development during infancy. Circadian rhythms of the gut microbiota are detectable as early as 2 weeks of age.


  • A randomized controlled intervention trial compared the microbiome development of 210 newborns who were either exclusively breastfed or fed one of four formulas. Bifidobacterium– Supplement formulations, galactooligosaccharide (GOS) formulations, or formulations containing GOS and bifidobacteria. Exclusively breastfed infants served as a reference group to assess the effects of breastfeeding. infant formula Feeding.
  • The researchers tracked the microbiome and metabolite profiles of infants in response to different feeding modes through stool samples taken periodically during the first to two years of life.
  • They also recorded the time the stool samples were collected to assess 24-hour fluctuations in the microbiome related to dietary exposure.


  • The global microbiota assembly of infants is primarily influenced by age and to a lesser extent by diet. All infants showed a gradual increase in gut bacterial diversity, with no observable differences between groups at 24 months of age.
  • However, the intestinal metabolite profiles differed significantly between exclusively formula-fed and exclusively breastfed infants. None of the supplemented milks was able to fully reproduce the microbial environment associated with breast milk.
  • Formulas supplemented with GOS were more effective in promoting sustained levels of Bifidobacterium than formulas containing Bifidobacteria.
  • Metabolic and bacterial profiling revealed 24-hour fluctuations and circadian networks as early as the second week of life. Infant microorganisms maintain circadian rhythms when grown in continuous culture, even in the absence of external light or host cues, suggesting the existence of an intrinsic clock mechanism in bacteria.

in fact:

“Our findings justify the need for further analysis of circadian fluctuations in both bacteria and metabolites and their functional role in contributing to infant nutritional benefits,” the study authors wrote. writing.


The research is Published online on April 2nd Cell hosts and microorganisms.


The size of the group of exclusively formula-fed infants is limited, and the distinct contribution of breast milk compared to infant formula to bacterial rhythms remains unclear. A possible limitation of circadian analysis is that the number of fecal samples collected at night is lower than during the day and decreases with age.


This research was supported by Töpfer GmbH, the German Research Foundation, the European Union Cooperative Programming Initiative, and the German Ministry of Education and Research. The authors disclosed no relevant conflicts of interest.




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