Share this article on:

Three Main Factors Define Changes in Fecal Microbiota Associated With Feeding Modality in Infants

Gomez-Llorente, Carolina*; Plaza-Diaz, Julio*; Aguilera, Margarita; Muñoz-Quezada, Sergio*; Bermudez-Brito, Miriam*; Peso-Echarri, Patricia; Martinez-Silla, Rosario§; Vasallo-Morillas, M. Isabel§; Campaña-Martin, Laura*; Vives-Piñera, Inmaculada||; Ballesta-Martinez, Maria J.||; Gil, Angel*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: October 2013 - Volume 57 - Issue 4 - p 461–466
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31829d519a
Original Articles: Hepatology and Nutrition

Objectives: There are many differences in the fecal infant microbiota associated with various feeding methods. The aim of this study was to examine the major differences in the fecal microbiota of breast-fed (BF) and formula-fed (FF) infants and to describe the principal bacterial components that would explain the variability in the predominant bacterial families and genus clusters.

Methods: Fecal samples from 58 infants, 31 of whom were exclusively BF and 27 of whom were exclusively FF with a standard formula in agreement with the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition recommendations, were analyzed by fluorescent in situ hybridization combined with flow cytometry. Principal component analysis was used to maximize the information gained for the predominant bacterial families and genus clusters using a minimal number of bacterial groups.

Results: The predominant detected group was Bifidobacterium, followed by Enterobacteriaceae and Bacteroides in both BF and FF infants. The Lactobacillus group was the only independent variable associated with FF infants. We also found that 3 principal components were sufficient to describe the association between the bacterial group, genus, and species studied in BF and FF infants; however, these components differed between BF and FF infants. For the former, the 3 factors found were Bifidobacterium/Enterobacteriaceae, Lactobacillus/Bacteroides, and Clostridium coccoides/Atopobium; for the latter, Bifidobacterium/Enterobacteriaceae, Bacteroides and C coccoides were observed.

Conclusions: There is a clear clustering of components of infant microbiota based on the feeding method.

*Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II

Department of Microbiology, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology “Jose Mataix” Biomedical Research Center, University of Granada, Armilla, Granada

Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Veterinary Faculty, University of Murcia

§Hero Global Technology Center for Infant Nutrition, Hero Group, Alcantarilla

||Pediatric Service, Virgen de la Arrixaca Hospital, Murcia, Spain.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Prof Angel Gil, Instituto de Nutricion y Tecnologia de los Alimentos “Jose Mataix” (INyTA), Centro de Investigacion Biomedica (CIBM), Universidad de Granada, Avda. del Conocimiento s/n, 18100 Armilla, Granada, Spain (e-mail:

Received 19 December, 2012

Accepted 23 May, 2013

This study was supported by the Spanish Plan Nacional de I+D+I through the projects Consolider Ingenio 2010 Programme (Ref. FUN-C-FOOD CSD2007–0623), AGL-2007–63504 and the Fundacion Empresa Universidad de Granada (FEUGR) contract no. 3318 with HERO Spain S.A. The present work is part of a project titled “Evaluation of the Bifidogenic Effect of a Modified Starting Infant Milk Formula Versus a Standard One and Human Milk.”

C.G.L. is a recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from Plan Propio of the University of Granada. R.M-S. and M.I.V-M., who participated in the clinical trial, are members of the Department of Research & Development at the Hero Institute for Infant Nutrition. This institute forms part of the food company HERO with headquarters in Switzerland.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,