Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOS) are not digested in the proximal intestine. In distal intestine, HMOS collectively modify the microbiota, but the response of individual bacteria to individual components of the HMOS is not well defined. Here, each of 25 major isolates of the human intestinal microbiota was fed individual major fucosylated and sialylated HMOS in anaerobic culture. This allowed for an assessment of the influence of specific HMOS on the growth and metabolic products of individual microbiota bacteria. Most Bifidobacteria spp. and Bacteroides spp. grew, induced α-L-fucosidase activity, and produced abundant lactate or short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) when fed 2'-fucosyllactose (2'-FL), 3-FL, and lactodifucotetraose (LDFT). Lactobacillus delbrueckii ATCC7830, Enterococcus faecalis ATCC19433, and Streptococcus thermophilus ATCC19258 exhibited slight growth, pH reduction, and lactate production when supplemented with 2'-FL or 3-FL, but not LDFT. Supplementation with 3'-sialyllactose (3'-SL) and 6'-SL promoted moderate growth of Bifidobacterium longum JCM7007, 7009, 7010, 7011, 1272, 11347, ATCC15708, Bacteroides vulgatus ATCC8482, and B. thetaiotaomicron ATCC29148; accordingly, these bacteria exhibited greater neuraminidase activity and produced copious lactate, SCFA, or both. Lactobacillus delbrueckii ATCC7830 also consumed 6'-SL. In contrast, Clostridium spp., L. rhamnosus ATCC53103, E. faecalis ATCC29200, Staphylococcus spp., Enterobacter spp., and Escherichia coli K12 did not consume milk oligosaccharides nor produce appreciable acidic fermentation products. Specific Bifidobacteria and Bacteroides differentially digest specific individual HMOS, with the major fucosylated milk oligosaccharides most strongly stimulating key species of mutualist symbionts. This suggests strategies for treating dysbiosis of the microbiota and associated inflammatory disorders.
Keywords: commensal bacteria; glycosidase; human milk oligosaccharides; mutualist bacteria; organic acids.