Occurrence of oligosaccharides in feces of breast-fed babies in their first six months of life and the corresponding breast milk

Carbohydr Res. 2011 Nov 29;346(16):2540-50. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2011.08.009. Epub 2011 Aug 16.


The characterization of oligosaccharides in the feces of breast-fed babies is a valuable tool for monitoring the gastrointestinal fate of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). In the present study we monitored fecal oligosaccharide profiles together with the HMO-profiles of the respective breast milks up to six months postpartum, by means of capillary electrophoresis-laser induced fluorescence detection and mass spectrometry. Eleven mother/child pairs were included. Mother's secretor- and Lewis-type included all combinations [Le(a-b+), Le(a+b-), Le(a-b-)]. The fecal HMO-profiles in the first few months of life are either predominantly composed of neutral or acidic HMOs and are possibly effected by the HMO-fingerprint in the respective breast milk. Independent of the initial presence of acidic or neutral fecal HMOs, a gradual change to blood-group specific oligosaccharides was observed. Their presence pointed to a gastrointestinal degradation of the feeding-related HMOs, followed by conjugation with blood group specific antigenic determinants present in the gastrointestinal mucus layer. Eleven of these 'hybrid'-oligosaccharides were annotated in this study. When solid food was introduced, no HMOs and their degradation- and metabolization products were recovered in the fecal samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism*
  • Pyrenes / chemistry
  • Sulfonic Acids / chemistry


  • 9-aminopyrene-1,4,6-trisulfonic acid
  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Pyrenes
  • Sulfonic Acids