Fecal microbiome and metabolome of infants fed bovine MFGM supplemented formula or standard formula with breast-fed infants as reference: a randomized controlled trial

Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 12;9(1):11589. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47953-4.


Human milk delivers an array of bioactive components that safeguard infant growth and development and maintain healthy gut microbiota. Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) is a biologically functional fraction of milk increasingly linked to beneficial outcomes in infants through protection from pathogens, modulation of the immune system and improved neurodevelopment. In the present study, we characterized the fecal microbiome and metabolome of infants fed a bovine MFGM supplemented experimental formula (EF) and compared to infants fed standard formula (SF) and a breast-fed reference group. The impact of MFGM on the fecal microbiome was moderate; however, the fecal metabolome of EF-fed infants showed a significant reduction of several metabolites including lactate, succinate, amino acids and their derivatives from that of infants fed SF. Introduction of weaning food with either human milk or infant formula reduces the distinct characteristics of breast-fed- or formula-fed- like infant fecal microbiome and metabolome profiles. Our findings support the hypothesis that higher levels of protein in infant formula and the lack of human milk oligosaccharides promote a shift toward amino acid fermentation in the gut. MFGM may play a role in shaping gut microbial activity and function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cattle
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Glycolipids / administration & dosage*
  • Glycoproteins / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Droplets
  • Metabolome*
  • Microbiota*


  • Glycolipids
  • Glycoproteins
  • milk fat globule