Targeted probiotic supplementation in breastfed infants could significantly reduce the potential for antibiotic resistance, suggests new research presented at the 51st European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Annual Meeting this week.
The study included 60 exclusively breastfed infants who were randomised to receive either lactation support and a novel commercial preparation of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis (n=29) or lactation support alone (n=31). The probiotic used is uniquely adapted to thrive in the infant gut and is often missing from the microbiome of infants born in Europe and the US.
Infants consumed the preparation mixed with expressed breast milk for 21 days, starting at day seven. After two weeks of supplementation, faecal samples were collected and compared with infants who had received breastmilk only to evaluate the presence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARG).
The authors found that infants who received the probiotic had, on average, 87.5 per cent less ARGs in their microbiome. They noted that 38 ARGs were significantly reduced in the supplemented infants.
“This is the first demonstration of significant remodelling of the infant gut microbiome. This modulation could help to reduce the burden and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in current and future generations,” said lead author, Dr Giorgio Casaburi.