Shaping the Infant Microbiome With Non-digestible Carbohydrates.
Verkhnyatskaya S, Ferrari M, de Vos P, Walvoort MTC
Front Microbiol. 2019. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00343
COMMENT: Many factors have impact on the composition of the infant gut microbiota. It has been shown that a healthy infant gut microbiome is characterized by a low microbial diversity, with abundance of Bifidobacterium, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria. Feeding has a major influence on the microbiota composition, it has been reported that breast-fed infants have higher Bifidobacterium and Enterobacteria numbers and a lower diversity in comparison to formula-fed infants. The human milk contains beneficial carbohydrates such as oligosaccharides (HMOs), that contribute to the formation of a healthy infant microbiome being feed for members of Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides. The infant formula has been supplemented with non-digestible carbohydrates (NDCs) that mimic the HMOs. However, the current molecules do not supplant all the functions of the >200 HMOs described in human milk, so novel oligosaccharides and alternatives are being investigated.
This review aims to inspire the selection of future NDCs that can be added to infant formula by reviewing beneficial glycans that show great promise as modulators of the microbiome, with a focus on their interaction with bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, since most is known about these genera. Moreover, state-of-the-art techniques to generate novel types of dietary glycans are presented
The creation of a healthy infant microbiome is a delicate interplay of a variety of commensal bacteria, which can be beneficially influenced by oligosaccharides.
Because the composition of the infant’s microbiome can have a profound effect on adult life, there is a great potential for the addition of carbohydrates that mimic HMO functions.
Promising better candidates that may substitute or be added to currently applied NDCs are the HePS, which have the potential to specifically enhance certain species.