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Breast-milk lactobacilli and bifidobacteria Opportunities for the development of infant formulas

SILVIA ARBOLEYA1, BORJA SÁNCHEZ1, NURIA FERNÁNDEZ2, GONZALO SOLÍS3, CLARA G. DE LOS REYES-GAVILÁN1, MIGUEL GUEIMONDE1*
*Corresponding author
1. Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias (IPLA-CSIC), Dept. of Microbiology and Biochemistry, Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain
2. Hospital Cabueñes, Paediatrics Service, SESPA, Gijón, Asturias, Spain
3. Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Paediatrics Service, SESPA, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

Abstract

Breast-milk is the best food for infant nutrition and development, protecting the newborn against allergies andinfections. The main difference between breast and formula-fed infants regards the higher level of Bifidobacterium in the gutmicrobiota of the former group. This has been traditionally attributed to the presence of bifidogenic compounds, but recentstudies indicate the presence of lactic acid bacteria and also bifidobacteria in breast-milk. The isolation and characterisation ofthese breast-milk microorganisms would allow the inclusion of specifically-selected bacteria in formulas targeted at both pretermand full-term infants. This constitutes a very promising area for the development of new products aiming at assisting in theestablishment of a healthy gut microbiota and a proper intestinal barrier resembling that of breast-fed infants.