In collaboration with researchers from the Broad Institute in the US, the University of Bologna in Italy and the icddr,b in Bangladesh, Nestlé scientists have discovered that a new bacteria takes over in the gut as children transition from infancy to early childhood. childhood.
The research, published in journal Cell,was performed on Bengal babies and showed the populations of three different groups Bifidobacterium longum (B. langum) expand significantly during weaning, when solid foods are introduced into a baby’s diet.
The study followed 267 babies in Bangladesh from birth to two years old. Most mothers chose to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life and then were introduced to solid foods in combination with breast milk. The three groups of B. langumappeared to have the ability to utilize both key components of breast milk and fiber from solid foods as an energy source, the researchers noted.
The new varieties stand out from other favorable ones B. langum, inclusive B. longum infantis, which predominates during early childhood and exclusive breastfeeding. These new species could form a new subspecies, Nestlé said.
The ‘next generation’ nutritional solutions
Infant formula manufacturer Nestlé believes the work will facilitate the identification of ‘next generation’ nutritional solutions and probiotics to support young children’s growth and development during the weaning period.
“This work will build on our long-term research into the gut microbiome and its evolving composition over different ages and life stages, in relation to nutrition. Specifically, we want to confirm the hypothesis that the new strains thrive on the combination of HMOs (Human Milk Oligosaccharides) from breast milk and fiber from the supplemental diet, as hypothesized in the Cell paper,”a company spokesperson told FoodNavigator.
Weaning usually begins around six months and is considered a ‘uniquely important’ period of immune development as it represents the immune system’s first exposure to many new environmental cues from food and bacteria.
Indeed, the study revealed the novel B. langum Groups were found to be associated with early growth and the severity of childhood diarrhoea. For example, B. langum subsp. infantis and its associated metabolites, such as indole lactate, were positively correlated with two measures of growth, namely weight for height and weight for age. On the other hand, B. langum subsp. longumand transitive B. langumwere inversely associated with diarrhea severity.
“Previous research has shown that disturbances in the development of the gut microbiome during childhood can impair immune system development and thus long-term health and well-being. Increasing understanding of the developing microbiome in children may help elucidate the mechanisms that support healthy immune development in children,”said the spokesman. “Weaning is a period of gradual introduction of complementary foods into a baby’s diet from six months onwards, along with continued breastfeeding (up to two years as recommended by WHO). Research has shown that the introduction of complementary foods has a significant impact on the development of the gut microbiome. This scientific work paves the way for solutions that support the growth and development of children at this important stage.”
Microbiome ‘important area of research’
Nestlé believes that the weaning phase is an important innovation opportunity. According to Isabelle Bureau-Franz, head of Nestlé Research, “no specific solutions” currently exist for shaping the gut ecosystem and immune system health at this stage of development. “This discovery opens up new possibilities for developing next-generation nutritional solutions that can help maintain or restore a diverse and fully functional gut microbiome in infants. This can be achieved by boosting beneficial gut microbes by feeding them with optimal nutrients or by supplementing with probiotics,”she noted.
Nestlé added that expanding its understanding of the microbiome and gut health are “important areas of research for us,” pointing to previous scientific advances that the company was able to successfully translate into nutritional solutions. “Over many years, our research has translated into products that help maintain digestive health, wellness and other health benefits for various populations. For example, Nestlé launched Purina Calming Care, an innovative nutritional supplement based on probiotics that is tailored to the treatment of anxious behavior in dogs. . The findings were used to develop a number of innovative solutions that meet different needs at different stages of life. This has included innovations for infant nutrition, where the research on HMOs – a key component of human milk shown to influence early life microbiome formation and immune system development – has been applied to launch new infant formulas that include HMOs.FoodNavigator was told.
As for the next steps, Nestlé scientists are now working to further characterize this species, its novelty and its role during weaning. They also want to confirm the presence of new species in geographic locations outside Bangladesh.
‘A clear clade of Bifidobacterium longum in the gut of Bangladeshi children thrives during weaning’
Authors: Tommi Vatanen et al