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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Apr;73(7):2284-9. Epub 2007 Feb 9.

Molecular fingerprinting of the fecal microbiota of children raised according to different lifestyles.

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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Microbiology, Uppsala, Sweden.


In this population-based study, 90 children from three European countries were examined to determine the impact of lifestyle on the fecal microbiota. The study was designed to assess the impact of two extreme lifestyles that we hypothesized could impact the microbial composition in the gut: i.e., an anthroposophic lifestyle (restricted use of antibiotics, greater consumption of fermented vegetables, etc.) versus living on a farm (greater consumption of farm milk, contact with animals, etc.). In previous studies, these lifestyles correlated with lower prevalence of allergies. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) was used to assess the bacterial composition in fecal samples since recent studies have shown that the majority of this community cannot be cultivated. The T-RFLP data were used to calculate richness and evenness of the fecal microbiota. Children that were attending Steiner schools (anthroposophic children) had a significantly higher diversity of microbes in their feces than farm children, who in turn also had lower diversity than the control groups. Specific primers were also used to focus on the Lactobacillus-like community (lactic acid bacteria [LAB]). Large differences were found in the LAB subpopulations in the sampled groups. In some children, the LAB subpopulation was dominated by a species that has not yet been cultivated.

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