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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2019 Aug 2. pii: AEM.01105-19. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01105-19. [Epub ahead of print]

Comparison of the development of the fecal microbiota of Indonesian and New Zealand children during the first year of life reveals differences in bifidobacterial taxa and microbiota complexity at 12 months.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Microbiome Otago, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Riddet Centre of Research Excellence, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


The biological succession that occurs in the gut of infants inhabiting Western countries during the first year of life is broadly predictable in terms of the increasing complexity of microbiota composition. Less information is available about microbiotas in Asian countries where environmental, nutritional and cultural influences may differentially affect the composition and development of the microbial community. We compared the fecal microbiotas of Indonesian (n = 204) and New Zealand (NZ; n = 74) infants aged 6-7 months and 12 months. Comparisons were made by analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences, and associated derivation of community diversity metrics, relative abundances of bacterial families, detection of enterotypes, and co-occurrence correlation networks. Abundances of Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis and longum were made by quantitative PCR. All observations supported the view that the Indonesian and NZ infant microbiotas developed in complexity over time, but the changes were much greater in NZ infants. B. longum subsp. infantis dominated the microbiota of Indonesian children whereas subsp. longum was dominant in NZ children. Network analysis showed that the niche model (trophic adaptation results in preferential colonization) of microbiota assemblage was supported in Indonesian infants, whereas the neutral (stochastic) model was supported by the development of the microbiota of NZ infants. The results of the study show that the development of the fecal microbiota is not the same for infants in all countries and points to the necessity of obtaining a better understanding of the factors that control the colonization of the gut in early life.Importance This study addresses the microbiology of a natural ecosystem (the infant bowel) associated with children in a rural setting in Indonesia and an urban environment in New Zealand. Analysis of DNA sequences generated from the microbial community (microbiota) in the feces of the infants during the first year of life showed marked differences in the composition and complexity of the bacterial collections. The differences were most likely due to differences in the prevalence and duration of breastfeeding of infants in the two countries. These kinds of studies are essential in developing concepts of microbial ecology that relate to the influence of nutrition and environment on the development of the gut microbiota and in determining the long-term effects of microbiological events in early life on human health and well-being.


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