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Res Microbiol. 2008 Nov-Dec;159(9-10):595-601. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2008.09.001. Epub 2008 Sep 19.

Assessment of the bacterial diversity of human colostrum and screening of staphylococcal and enterococcal populations for potential virulence factors.

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Departamento de Nutrición, Bromatología y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Avda. Puerta de Hierro, s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


In contrast to breast milk, little is known about the bacterial composition of human colostrum. The objective of this work was to analyze the bacterial diversity of colostrum obtained from healthy women and to characterize the dominant bacterial species for the presence of possible virulence factors. Samples of colostrum obtained from 36 healthy women were inoculated into different culture media. Several isolates from each medium were selected and identified. Staphylococcal and enterococcal isolates were submitted to genetic profiling. One representative of each profile was included in a genetic and phenotypic characterization scheme, including detection of potential virulence traits/genes and sensitivity to antibiotics. Staphylococcus epidermidis and Enterococcus faecalis were the dominant species, followed by Streptococcus mitis, Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus lugdunensis. Among the 48 S. epidermidis isolates selected on the basis of their genetic profiles, the biofilm-related icaD gene and the mecA gene were detected in only 11 and six isolates, respectively. In parallel, 10 enterococcal isolates were also characterized and none of them contained the cylA, vanA, vanB, vanD, vanE and vanG genes. All of them were sensitive to vancomycin. There were no indications that the colostrum samples contained harmful bacteria.

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