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Biosci Microbiota Food Health. 2018;37(4):79-85. doi: 10.12938/bmfh.18-011. Epub 2018 Aug 10.

Bifidobacterial strains in the intestines of newborns originate from their mothers.

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Yakult Central Institute, 5-11 Izumi, Kunitachi-shi, Tokyo 186-8650, Japan.


The gastrointestinal tract is believed to be colonized rapidly with bacteria immediately from birth. The source of these intestinal microbes is an ongoing topic of interest because increasing evidence suggests that the composition of the initial intestinal bacterial colonization strongly affects health. In particular, the source of bifidobacteria has received marked attention because these bacteria are suggested to play a crucial role in protecting against susceptibility to diverse diseases later in life. However, the source of these microbes has remained unclear. Recently, it was confirmed that mothers transmit their unique bifidobacterial strains to their children shortly after birth. The transmitted strains predominate during early infancy, suggesting that maternal intestinal bifidobacteria are an important source of the infant gut microbiota. Accordingly, maintenance of a healthy, balanced gut microbiota during pregnancy has an important positive influence on the newborn gut microbiota.


bifidobacteria; human milk; infancy; intestinal microbiota; mother-to-infant transmission

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