Administration of bovine milk oligosaccharide to weaning gnotobiotic mice inoculated with a simplified infant type microbiota

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Bovine milk oligosaccharides (BMO) share structural similarity to selected human milk oligosaccharides, which are natural prebiotics for infants. Thus, there is a potential in including BMOs as a prebiotic in infant formula. To examine the in vivo effect of BMO‐supplementation on the infant gut microbiota, a BMO‐rich diet (2% w/w) was fed to gnotobiotic mice (n = 11) inoculated with an infant type co‐culture and compared with gnotobiotic mice receiving a control diet (n = 9). Nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics in combination with high‐throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was used to compare metabolic activity and microbiota composition in different compartments of the lower gastrointestinal tract. BMO components were detected in cecum and colon contents, revealing that BMO was available for the gut bacteria. The gut microbiota was dominated by Enterobacteriaceae and minor abundance of Lactobacilliaceae, while colonization of Bifidobacteriaceae did not succeed. Apart from a lower E. coli population in cecum content and lower formate (in colon) and succinate (in colon and cecum) concentrations, BMO supplementation did not result in significant changes in microbiota composition nor metabolic activity. The present study corroborates the importance of the presence of bifidobacteria for obtaining microbial‐derived effects of milk oligosaccharides in the gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1003
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Infant nutrition, Microbiome, NMR metabolomics, Sialylated oligosaccharides, Synthetic gut microbiota

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