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Anaerobe. 2008 Apr;14(2):94-101. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2007.11.002. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Fecal microflora of Greek healthy neonates.

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Department of Dietetics and Nutritional Science, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.


This study aimed to explore, in our geographical region, the development of intestinal microflora and the colonization patterns of lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria during the first three months of life and to investigate the effect of the mode of delivery. Fecal specimens from 82 healthy, full-term infants were collected prospectively 4, 30 and 90 days after delivery and subcultured on nonselective and selective media. Identification of isolates was performed by microbiological and molecular methods. For the delivery effect, two groups of vaginally or caesarean-delivered exclusively breast-fed infants were studied. Despite the early high total counts of aerobes and anaerobes, colonization of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria was overall limited until 3 months of age. Furthermore, caesarean-delivered infants were less often colonized with lactobacilli at day 4 (4% vs. 59%, p = 0.000) and with bifidobacteria at day 4 (0% vs. 23%, p = 0.015) and 30 (0% vs. 35%, p = 0.042) compared to vaginally delivered ones. No bacterial populations differences were detected to compare colonized infants. Identification results indicated the predominance of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus johnsonii and Lactobacillus paracasei species in neonatal gut microflora up to the first month of life and diversity of Lactobacillus species in vaginally delivered, colonized newborns, at fourth day. Furthermore, Bifidobacterium longum and Bifidobacterium breve were the most frequently detected Bifidobacterium species in vaginally delivered, breast-fed infants. In conclusion our study revealed a restricted colonization pattern of lactic acid bacteria in Greek infants and a delay in the development of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp. microbiota after caesarean section. Further analysis of potential consequences of these findings is required.

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