Background: The establishment of gut microbiota is a stepwise process contributing to gut development and maturation of the immune system. Aberrant gut microbiota at an early age may predispose to disease later in life. Breast-fed infants harbor a characteristic intestinal microbiota dominated by bifidobacteria.
Objectives: To assess, using molecular techniques (PCR), whether human milk contains bifidobacteria and to determine the bifidobacterial species present.
Methods: The presence of bifidobacteria in breast milk samples (n = 20) was qualitatively and quantitatively determined by using PCR and real-time PCR, respectively.
Results: Breast milk samples contained bifidobacteria. Bifidobacterium longum was the most widely found species followed by Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium catenulatum.
Conclusion: Breast milk contains bifidobacteria and specific Bifidobacterium species that may promote healthy microbiota development.