Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria help infants digest milk more effectively than adults

Date:
November 24, 2010
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Infants are more efficient at digesting and utilizing nutritional components of milk than adults due to a difference in the strains of bacteria that dominate their digestive tracts. Researchers now report on genomic analysis of these strains identifying the genes that are most likely responsible for this difference.

Infant breastfeeding. Infants are more efficient at digesting and utilizing nutritional components of milk than adults due to a difference in the strains of bacteria that dominate their digestive tracts.
Credit: iStockphoto/Hywit Dimyadi

Infants are more efficient at digesting and utilizing nutritional components of milk than adults due to a difference in the strains of bacteria that dominate their digestive tracts.

Related Articles


Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and Utah State University report on genomic analysis of these strains in the November 2010 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology identifying the genes that are most likely responsible for this difference.

"Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are the third-largest solid component of milk. Their structural complexity renders them non-digestible to the host," say the researchers. "Bifidobacterium longum strains often predominate the colonic microbiota of exlusively breast-fed infants. Among the three recognized subspecies, B. longum subsp. infantis achieves high levels of cell growth on HMOs and is associated with early colonization of the infant gut."

In the study the researchers used whole-genome microarray comparisons to associate genotypic biomarkers among 15 B. longum strains exhibiting various HMO utilization patterns. They identified 5 distinct gene clusters on B. longum that were conserved (showed little or no variation) across all strains capable of growth on HMOs and have also diverged in strains incapable of growing on HMOs.

The results of this study suggest that B. longum has at least 2 distinct subspecies: B. longum subsp. infantis, adapted to ultilize milk carbon and found primarily in the digestive tract of children, and B. longum subsp. longum, specialized for plant-derived carbon metabolism and associated with the adult digestive tract.

"Although early gut colonization is likely dependent on a multitude of dietary and nondietary factors, the delivery of complex oligosaccharides through milk creates an ideal and unique nutrient niche for the establishment of, and colonization by, B. longum subsp. infantis strains," say the researchers. "During weaning, a gradual transitioning from milk-based to plant-based diets generates a shift in carbon availability in the gastrintestinal tract favorable for the expansion and formtion of an adult-like gastointestinal tract microbiota."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. G. LoCascio, P. Desai, D. A. Sela, B. Weimer, D. A. Mills. Broad Conservation of Milk Utilization Genes in Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis as Revealed by Comparative Genomic Hybridization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2010; 76 (22): 7373 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00675-10

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Bacteria help infants digest milk more effectively than adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122121709.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2010, November 24). Bacteria help infants digest milk more effectively than adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122121709.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Bacteria help infants digest milk more effectively than adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101122121709.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins