Characterisation of human milk bacterial DNA profiles in a small cohort of Australian women in relation to infant and maternal factors

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Abstract

Human milk is composed of complex microbial and non-microbial components that shape the infant gut microbiome. Although several maternal and infant factors have been associated with human milk microbiota, no study has investigated this in an Australian population. Therefore, we aimed to investigate associations between human milk bacterial composition of Australian women and maternal factors (body mass index (BMI), mode of delivery, breast pump use, allergy, parity) and infant factors (sex, mode of feeding, pacifier use, and introduction of solids). Full-length 16S rRNA gene sequencing was used to characterise milk bacterial DNA profiles. Milk from mothers with a normal BMI had a higher relative abundance of Streptococcus australis than that of underweight mothers, while milk from overweight mothers had a higher relative abundance of Streptococcus salivarius compared with underweight and obese mothers. Mothers who delivered vaginally had a higher relative abundance of Streptococcus mitis in their milk compared to those who delivered via emergency caesarean section. Milk of mothers who used a breast pump had a higher relative abundance of Staphylococcus epidermidis and Streptococcus parasanguinis. Milk of mothers whose infants used a pacifier had a higher relative abundance of S. australis and Streptococcus gwangjuense. Maternal BMI, mode of delivery, breast pump use, and infant pacifier use are associated with the bacterial composition of human milk in an Australian cohort. The data from this pilot study suggests that both mother and infant can contribute to the human milk microbiome.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0280960
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number1 January
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2023

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