Effect of iron on neonatal gut flora during the first three months of life

Eur J Clin Microbiol. 1985 Jun;4(3):273-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02013651.


To study the effect of milk supplemented with iron on neonatal gut flora, faecal specimens of ten infants receiving breast milk, six receiving a cow-milk preparation supplemented with iron (5 mg/l) and seven receiving the same product without iron supplement (iron concentration less than 0.5 mg/l) were examined during the first 12 weeks of life. In breast-fed infants bifidobacteria was predominant, counts of Escherichia coli were low, and other bacteria were rarely present. Infants receiving fortified cow-milk preparation had high counts of Escherichia coli, counts and isolation frequency of bifidobacteria were low and other bacteria were frequently isolated. In those on unfortified cow-milk preparation isolation frequency of Escherichia coli, bifidobacteria and bacteroides was comparable with that in breast-fed infants; however, counts of Escherichia coli were high. It is concluded that the faecal flora of infants fed unfortified cow-milk preparation acquires characteristics of that found in breast-fed infants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteroides / isolation & purification
  • Bifidobacterium / isolation & purification
  • Cattle
  • Clostridium / isolation & purification
  • Enterobacteriaceae / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Infant
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Iron / pharmacology*
  • Lactobacillaceae / isolation & purification
  • Milk
  • Milk, Human*


  • Iron