Maternal dietary intervention during lactation impacts the maternal faecal and human milk microbiota

Azhar S. Sindi, Lisa F. Stinson, Zoya Gridneva, Gabriela E. Leghi, Merryn J. Netting, Mary E. Wlodek, Beverly S. Muhlhausler, Alethea Rea, Michelle L. Trevenen, Donna T. Geddes, Matthew S. Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To determine the effect of a two-week reduced fat and sugar and increased fibre maternal dietary intervention on the maternal faecal and human milk (HM) microbiomes. Methods and results: Faecal swabs and HM samples were collected from mothers (n = 11) immediately pre-intervention, immediately post-intervention, and 4 and 8 weeks post-intervention, and were analysed using full-length 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Maternal macronutrient intake was assessed at baseline and during the intervention. Maternal fat and sugar intake during the intervention were significantly lower than pre-intervention (P = <0.001, 0.005, respectively). Significant changes in the bacterial composition of maternal faeces were detected after the dietary intervention, with decreases in the relative abundance of Bacteroides caccae (P = <0.001) and increases in the relative abundance of Faecalibacillus intestinalis (P = 0.006). In HM, the diet resulted in a significant increase in Cutibacterium acnes (P = 0.001) and a decrease in Haemophilus parainfluenzae (P = <0.001). The effect of the diet continued after the intervention, with faecal swabs and HM samples taken 4 and 8 weeks after the diet showing significant differences compared to baseline. Conclusion: This pilot study demonstrates that short-term changes in maternal diet during lactation can alter the bacterial composition of the maternal faeces and HM.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberlxae024
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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