Send to

Choose Destination
J Nutr. 2017 Sep;147(9):1739-1748. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.248864. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Human Milk Microbial Community Structure Is Relatively Stable and Related to Variations in Macronutrient and Micronutrient Intakes in Healthy Lactating Women.

Author information

Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences,
Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and.
School of Biological Sciences and.
Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.
Statistical Programs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.
Bioinformatics Core Facility in the Genome Center, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA.
School of Biological Sciences and
Paul G. Allen School of Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman, WA; and.


Background: The human milk microbiome has been somewhat characterized, but little is known about changes over time and relations with maternal factors such as nutrient intake.Objective: We sought to characterize the human milk microbiome and described associations with maternal nutrient intake, time postpartum, delivery mode, and body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2).Methods: Milk samples (n = 104) and 24-h diet recalls were collected 9 times from 21 healthy lactating women from day 2 to 6 mo postpartum. Women were classified by BMI as healthy weight (<25) or overweight or obese (≥25). Bacterial taxa were characterized with the use of the high-throughput sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene.Results: The milk microbiome was relatively constant over time, although there were small changes in some of the lesser-abundant genera. Relative abundances of several taxa were associated with BMI, delivery mode, and infant sex. For instance, overweight and obese mothers produced milk with a higher relative abundance of Granulicatella than did healthy-weight women (1.8% ± 0.6% compared with 0.4% ± 0.2%, respectively; P < 0.05). Relative abundances of several bacterial taxa were also associated with variations in maternal dietary intake. For example, intakes of saturated fatty acids (rs = -0.59; P = 0.005) and monounsaturated fatty acids (rs = -0.46; P = 0.036) were inversely associated with the relative abundance of Corynebacterium; total carbohydrates (rs = -0.54; P = 0.011), disaccharides (rs = -0.47; P = 0.031), and lactose (rs = -0.51; P = 0.018) were negatively associated with Firmicutes; and protein consumption was positively correlated with the relative abundance of Gemella (rs = 0.46; P = 0.037).Conclusions: Factors associated with variations in the human milk microbiome are complex and may include maternal nutrient intake, maternal BMI, delivery mode, and infant sex. Future studies designed to investigate the relation between maternal nutrient intake and the milk microbiome should strive to also evaluate dietary supplement usage and analyze the collected milk for its nutrient content.


BMI; human; microbiome; microbiota; milk; nutrients; nutrition

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center