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The exact composition of the complex microsystem that constitutes the gut flora continues to be explored as molecular methodology supplements traditional microbiological studies. The current study reports a random analysis of the faecal flora composition for 31 neonates in the 0–1 day age group, 41 neonates aged 2–5 days and 33 6-week-old neonates. All infants, born at the National Maternity Hospital, Ireland, were considered healthy, full-term normal deliveries and were either exclusively breastfed or formula-fed from birth. Microbiological and biochemical analyses of the faecal samples were used to specifically enumerate Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., Enterococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp., Bacteroides spp., Clostridium spp. and coliforms present in the gut. The results were analysed for the presence, prevalence and dominance of each of the species. In general, there were no major statistical variations in the findings for the two feeding regimes. However, Escherichia coli was found to be more dominant (p=0.042) in the gut flora of 6-week-old formula-fed neonates, while there was a tendency for Bifidobacterium spp. to be more prevalent in the gut flora of breastfed neonates at 2–5 days (p=0.108).
Cooke, G., Behan, J., Clarke, N., Gorman, W. and Costello, M. Comparing the gut flora of Irish breastfed and formula-fed neonates aged between birth and 6 weeks old. Microbial Ecology in Health and DiseaseJan 2005, Vol. 17, No. 3, Pages 163-168 (doi:10.1080/08910600500430664)
PDRSP Strand 1 and Technological University Dublin