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Anaerobe. 2003 Oct;9(5):219-29.

Development of bacterial and bifidobacterial communities in feces of newborn babies.

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Laboratory of Microbiology, Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Wageningen University, Hesselink van Suchtelenweg 4, 6703 CT Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Microbial 16S rDNA from babies' fecal samples were amplified by PCR, and analysed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), cloning and sequencing. PCR-DGGE profiles were used to follow in time the colonization of the intestine by bacteria. Four healthy babies, one baby who received antibiotics and their parents participated to the present study to determine the extent to which administration of antibiotics can modify the bacterial colonization of neonatal human gut and verify the influence of parental factors on the formation of the fecal bacterial community. In the healthy babies, Escherichia coli or bacteria belonging to Clostridium spp. were the initial colonizers rapidly followed by Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Streptococcus, Enterococcus and Actinomyces. Bifidobacterium species appeared already after five days in the breast-fed babies while there was a delay in the baby who received a formula based diet during only one day after birth. In each baby two or three bifidobacterial species including B. infantis were found. The observed variations in species were not associated with the feeding changes. The comparison of DGGE profiles of the babies and their parents patterns showed bands with equal migration suggesting a vertical transmission determined by genetic and environmental factors. The brief appearance of pioneer bacteria determined as being E. coli and Enterococcus spp. in the profile from the baby under antibiotic therapy, was succeeded by a small stable community consisting of Ruminococcus species. No Bifidobacterium sequences were detectable in this antibiotic-treated baby in spite of a partly breast-milk diet.

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