Send to

Choose Destination
J Proteome Res. 2015 Jan 2;14(1):491-502. doi: 10.1021/pr500759e. Epub 2014 Oct 28.

Human milk glycomics and gut microbial genomics in infant feces show a correlation between human milk oligosaccharides and gut microbiota: a proof-of-concept study.

Author information

Departments of Chemistry, ‡Viticulture and Enology, §Food Science and Technology, ∥Pediatrics, and ⊥Biochemistry, #Foods for Health Institute, University of California Davis , One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, United States.


Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) play a key role in shaping and maintaining a healthy infant gut microbiota. This article demonstrates the potential of combining recent advances in glycomics and genomics to correlate abundances of fecal microbes and fecal HMOs. Serial fecal specimens from two healthy breast-fed infants were analyzed by bacterial DNA sequencing to characterize the microbiota and by mass spectrometry to determine abundances of specific HMOs that passed through the intestinal tract without being consumed by the luminal bacteria. In both infants, the fecal bacterial population shifted from non-HMO-consuming microbes to HMO-consuming bacteria during the first few weeks of life. An initial rise in fecal HMOs corresponded with bacterial populations composed primarily of non-HMO-consuming Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcaeae. This was followed by decreases in fecal HMOs as the proportion of HMO-consuming Bacteroidaceae and Bifidobacteriaceae increased. Analysis of HMO structures with isomer differentiation revealed that HMO consumption is highly structure-specific, with unique isomers being consumed and others passing through the gut unaltered. These results represent a proof-of-concept and are consistent with the highly selective, prebiotic effect of HMOs in shaping the gut microbiota in the first weeks of life. The analysis of selective fecal bacterial substrates as a measure of alterations in the gut microbiota may be a potential marker of dysbiosis.


HMOs; Term infants; human milk; mass spectrometry; microbiota; oligosaccharides; prebiotic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center