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To assess the effect of nutritional supplementation with lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) and corn-soy blend (CSB) flour on Bifidobacterium and Staphylococcus aureus gut microbiota composition in Malawian infants. In addition, the microbiota changes over time were characterized in the study infants.
Healthy six-month-old Malawian infants were randomly assigned to one of four intervention schemes for a six-month period. Infants in the control group were not provided with any supplementary food. Infants in other three groups received either micronutrient-fortified CSB, micronutrient-fortified LNS with milk protein base or micronutrient-fortified LNS with soy protein base between six and twelve months of age. Fecal bifidobacteria and Staphylococcus aureus gut microbiota at six and twelve months of age was analyzed by qPCR method.
There was no difference in change in bacterial prevalence or counts between the intervention groups over the 6-month study period. When looking at the total study population, higher counts of total bacteria (p = 0.028), Bifidobacterium genus (p = 0.027), B. catenulatum (p = 0.031) and lower counts of B. infantis (p < 0.001), B. lactis (p < 0.001), B. longum (p < 0.001) and S. aureus (p < 0.001) were detected in the children's stools at 12 months rather than at 6 months of age.
The dietary supplementation did not have an impact on the Bifidobacterium and Staphylococcus aureus microbiota composition of the study infants. However, the fecal bifidobacterial diversity of the infants changed towards a more adult-like microbiota profile within the observed time.