Navigation Links
Study sheds new light on importance of human breast milk ingredient
Date:5/14/2012

URBANA A new University of Illinois study shows that human milk oligosaccharides, or HMO, produce short-chain fatty acids that feed a beneficial microbial population in the infant gut. Not only that, the bacterial composition adjusts as the baby grows older and its needs change.

Even though HMO are a major component of human milk, present in higher concentration than protein, many of their actions in the infant are not well understood. Furthermore, they're virtually absent from infant formula. The scientists wanted to find out what formula-fed babies were missing.

"We refer to HMO as the fiber of human milk because we don't have the enzymes to break down these compounds. They pass into the large intestine where the bacteria digest them.

"We're curious about the role they play in the development of the breast-fed infant's gut bacteria because the bacteria found in the guts of formula-fed infants is different," said Sharon Donovan, the U of I's Melissa M. Noel Endowed Professor in Nutrition and Health.

With this study, Donovan is gaining insight into the mystery. For the first time, scientists have shown that a complex mixture of HMO and a single HMO component produce patterns of short-chain fatty acids that change as the infant gets older.

A healthy microbiome has both short- and long-term effects on an infant's health. In the short term, beneficial bacteria protect the infant from infection by harmful bacteria. In the long term, beneficial bacteria strengthen the immune system so that it can fend off chronic health problems like food allergies and asthma, she said.

In the study, breast milk was obtained from mothers of preterm infants at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center, and the HMO were isolated and analyzed. The scientists tested bacteria from 9- and 17-day-old sow-reared and formula-fed piglets. Because piglets grow so rapidly, these ages reflect approximately three- and six-month-old human infants.

The colon bacteria were added to test tubes containing HMO and two prebiotics commonly used in infant formulas. These mixtures were allowed to ferment and then sampled to see how the bacterial population was changing over time and what products were being produced by the bacteria.

"When the HMOs were introduced, the bacteria produced short-chain fatty acids, at some cases at higher levels than other prebiotics now used in infant formula. The short-chain fatty acids can be used as a fuel source for beneficial bacteria and also affect gastrointestinal development and pH in the gut, which reduces the number of disease-causing pathogens," she said.

Further, different HMOs produced different patterns of short-chain fatty acids, and the composition of bacteria in the gut changed over time. "It was distinctly different at 9 vs. 17 days, making it likely that the functions of HMO change as the human infant gets older," she said.

According to Donovan, HMO are critically important in understanding how breastfeeding protects babies.

"Several companies are now able to synthesize HMO, and in the future, we may be able to use them to improve infant formula. There's evidence that these compounds can bind to receptors on immune cells and, to our knowledge, no current prebiotic ingredient can do that," she said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wasted milk is a real drain on our resources, study shows
2. New study discovers powerful function of single protein that controls neurotransmission
3. Plastic trash altering ocean habitats, Scripps study shows
4. Study raises questions about use of anti-epilepsy drugs in newborns
5. First satellite tag study for manta rays reveals habits and hidden journeys of ocean giants
6. Successful stem cell differentiation requires DNA compaction, study finds
7. UGA study finds theres not always safety in numbers when it comes to extinction risk
8. New study published on fertility awareness among American university students
9. Study: Men who do load-bearing exercise in early 20s may be shielded from osteoporosis
10. Radiologists study necessity of additional imaging recommendations in PET/CT oncologic reports
11. Plant diversity is key to maintaining productive vegetation, U of M study shows
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... BROOKLYN, N.Y. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York ... University College of Engineering have found that partial ... fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and ... previously thought. The vulnerability lies in ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during ... diseases is the primary factor for the growth of ... report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4807905/ MARKET INSIGHTS The global ... product, technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... Trends, opportunities and forecast in this market ... (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, vein ... use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and retail, ... others), and by region ( North America ... Pacific , and the Rest of the World) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/14/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The newest company to join the Science Center’s Port business ... human genes. ATGC, a spin out of the University of Michigan, will occupy lab ... genomics company. Its founders are among the first wave of researchers adopting into ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... , ... June 13, 2017 ... ... holistic approach for understanding the phenotype of an organism on a molecular ... throughput and complicated data processing remain major bottlenecks to biomarker discovery in ...
(Date:6/13/2017)... ... June 13, 2017 , ... Boyd ... The Copley Consulting Group to facilitate and deploy Infor’s CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) ... operations and strategic initiatives to increasing customer demands. , “The clients and ...
(Date:6/13/2017)... ... June 13, 2017 , ... ... keynote the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute’s 21st Annual ... EST. Dr. Feehery will address other business leaders, policy makers, educators, students and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: