Comparative Effect of Breast Milk and Infant Formulae on Neonatal Gut Microbiome within Katsina Metropolis




Breastfeeding, Formula-feeding, Fecal sample, Bacterial load


Study’s Novelty Excerpt

  • This study provides novel insights into the differential impacts of breast milk and infant formula on the neonatal gut microbiome in Katsina metropolis, an area with limited existing research on this subject.
  • By employing a culture-dependent method to analyze fecal samples from exclusively breastfed, formula-fed, and mixed-fed neonates, the study reveals significant differences in the abundance of Escherichia spp. and the overall fecal pH between the feeding groups.
  • These findings underscore the substantial influence of feeding type on gut microbiota composition, despite advancements in infant formula enrichment, and highlight the nuanced role of diet in early microbiome development.

Full Abstract

Numerous studies conducted in recent years have highlighted the intricate nature of the neonatal gut microbiome, influenced by various intrinsic and extrinsic factors. One significant factor in this regard is the type of feeding, which has a substantial impact on the development of intestinal microbiota in early infancy. This study aimed to compare the effects of breast milk and infant formulae on the gut microbiota of newborns in Katsina metropolis. Faecal samples were obtained from 46 neonates (33 exclusively breastfed, 10 formula-fed, and 3 mix-fed) and analyzed using a culture-dependent method. Colony enumerations and pH measurements were conducted for comparison between the groups. The mean weight of the participants was 2.88±0.1 kg, with exclusively breastfed infants (BFI) weighing significantly more (p = 0.03) than formula-fed infants (FFI). The bacteria selected for analysis (Bifidobacterium spp., Staphylococcus spp., Escherichia spp., and Lactobacillus spp.) were present in all feeding groups. Among BFI, similar levels of Escherichia spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. (61.17 CFU/g and 61.38 CFU/g respectively) were observed. Staphylococcus spp. constituted the majority of the bacterial load (32%) in both BFI and FFI groups. Apart from Escherichia spp. (p = 0.01), no significant differences were noted in the levels of all cultured bacteria across the feeding groups. The disparity in Escherichia spp. load was evident between BFI and MFI (p = 0.01), as well as FFI and MFI (p = 0.02) only. There was no overall significant correlation between bacterial load and mode of delivery within the feeding groups (p = 0.6). The average faecal pH of breastfed infants (5.09±01) was significantly lower (p = <0.001) compared to the formula-fed group (5.9±0.1). Despite advancements in enriching infant formulae with probiotics and other bifidogenic substances, subtle differences in fecal bacterial load compared to breast milk persist, highlighting the significant influence of both feeding methods on the composition and functionality of the neonatal gut microbiome


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How to Cite

Usman, A., Abdulkadir, B., Lawal, B., & Isah, M. B. (2024). Comparative Effect of Breast Milk and Infant Formulae on Neonatal Gut Microbiome within Katsina Metropolis. UMYU Journal of Microbiology Research (UJMR), 22–29.

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