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Anaerobe. 2013 Feb;19:62-9. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2012.12.005. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Use of bifidobacterial specific terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms to complement next generation sequence profiling of infant gut communities.

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Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Bifidobacteria are intestinal anaerobes often associated with gut health. Specific bifidobacterial species are particularly common in the gastrointestinal tract of breast-fed infants. Current short read next-generation sequencing approaches to profile fecal microbial ecologies do not discriminate bifidobacteria to the species level. Here we describe a low-cost terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) procedure to distinguish between the common infant-associated bifidobacterial species. An empirical database of TRF sizes was created from both common reference strains and well-identified isolates from infant feces. Species-specific quantitative PCR validated bifidobacterial-specific TRFLP profiles from infant feces. These results indicate that bifidobacterial-specific TRFLP is a useful method to monitor intestinal bifidobacterial populations from infant fecal samples. When used alongside next generation sequencing methods that detect broader population levels at lower resolution, this high-throughput, low-cost tool can help clarify the role of bifidobacteria in health and disease.

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