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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2007 Jan;59(1):127-37. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

Genomic diversity of cultivable Lactobacillus populations residing in the neonatal and adult gastrointestinal tract.

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Teagasc, Moorepark Food Research Centre, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland.


The objective of this study was to investigate the cultivable Lactobacillus population in adult and infant faecal material to identify strains shared across a number of individuals. A range of lactobacilli isolated on Lactobacillus-selective agar from faeces of 16 infants and 11 adults were genetically fingerprinted and further characterized by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The relatedness of all the Lactobacillus strains isolated to known species was also determined both genetically and phenotypically. This study revealed that the human intestine is initially colonized by only a few (1-2) different cultivable strains whereas in adults the pattern becomes more complex with a higher diversity of strains. The adult samples contained three genetically distinct Lactobacillus strains in some cases, while infant samples generally harboured only one dominant Lactobacillus strain. Moreover, the species in general appeared to differ with Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus casei/paracasei found mainly in adults, whereas Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus salivarius were more commonly isolated in infant samples. The data reaffirm the differences in Lactobacillus populations both between individual subjects and between the infant and adult, with an overall change in the diversity and complexity from early stages of life to adulthood.

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