Milk microbiome transplantation: recolonizing donor milk with mother's own milk microbiota

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Abstract: Donor human milk (DHM) provides myriad nutritional and immunological benefits for preterm and low birthweight infants. However, pasteurization leaves DHM devoid of potentially beneficial milk microbiota. In the present study, we performed milk microbiome transplantation from freshly collected mother’s own milk (MOM) into pasteurized DHM. Small volumes of MOM (5%, 10%, or 30% v/v) were inoculated into pasteurized DHM and incubated at 37 °C for up to 8 h. Further, we compared microbiome recolonization in UV-C-treated and Holder-pasteurized DHM, as UV-C treatment has been shown to conserve important biochemical components of DHM that are lost during Holder pasteurization. Bacterial culture and viability-coupled metataxonomic sequencing were employed to assess the effectiveness of milk microbiome transplantation. Growth of transplanted MOM bacteria occurred rapidly in recolonized DHM samples; however, a greater level of growth was observed in Holder-pasteurized DHM compared to UV-C-treated DHM, potentially due to the conserved antimicrobial properties in UV-C-treated DHM. Viability-coupled metataxonomic analysis demonstrated similarity between recolonized DHM samples and fresh MOM samples, suggesting that the milk microbiome can be successfully transplanted into pasteurized DHM. These results highlight the potential of MOM microbiota transplantation to restore the microbial composition of UV-C-treated and Holder-pasteurized DHM and enhance the nutritional and immunological benefits of DHM for preterm and vulnerable infants. Key points: • Mother’s own milk microbiome can be successfully transplanted into donor human milk. • Recolonization is equally successful in UV-C-treated and Holder-pasteurized milk. • Recolonization time should be restricted due to rapid bacterial growth. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2024


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