The first 1,000 days determine health for a lifetime

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What is the microbiome and why is it so important for babies?

The microbiome, also known scientifically as the intestinal microbiome, refers to all microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are found in the intestine.

Intestinal bacteria play an important role in our health and are especially relevant during the early stages of development.

In this phase, approximately the first 1,000 days, the immune system is shaped by important bacteria, especially Bifidobacteria, in the baby's microbiome.

Scientific studies show that the absence of these Bifidobacteria in the first months of life correlates with various diseases - especially allergies and autoimmune diseases but also obesity and mental disorders.

of all babies in Germany are born via cesarean section

Cesarean birth

During a vaginal birth, the mother's microbiome is transferred to the baby. Studies show that the microbiome of babies born via cesarean section often lacks important bacteria.

of children up to 6 years old are administered antibiotics


Antibiotics save lives! Unfortunately, they can also kill beneficial bacteria in addition to harmful ones. This can lead to a lack of these bacteria in the baby's microbiome.

of babies are not exclusively breastfed in the first 6 months


Breast milk is the best food for babies. In addition to nutrients for the baby, it also contains nutrients for the baby's bacteria. Studies show that a diet without breast milk leads to lower levels of important bacteria.

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Next Generation Sequencing technology with precise analysis of the intestinal microbiome microorganisms.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Microbiome?

The Microbiome is a collective term for all microorganisms located in a specific area. With intestinal microbiome or also known as intestinal flora, we mean all microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are located in the intestine.

For the purpose of our analyses, we use the term Microbiome and intestinal flora synonymously, referring to the bacteria that colonize the intestine. Different sections of the gastrointestinal tract house different bacteria, which are perfectly adapted to each section of the intestine depending on pH level and oxygen presence.

Why is the intestinal Microbiome so important?

Microbiome bacteria play an important role in our health:

  • For instance, beneficial bacteria prevent the settlement of disease-causing bacteria by occupying space in the gut or by strengthening the gut mucosal barrier.
  • Bacteria can digest components from our food that the human body cannot digest (certain plant fibers, for example). In return for the human providing bacteria with food and a comfortable “living space,” certain bacteria supply us with important metabolic products like short-chain fatty acids that we cannot produce ourselves.
  • Moreover, gut bacteria also play an important role in relation to the immune system.

The human body usually lives in harmony with these microorganisms and benefits from their capabilities. However, in some cases, a bacterial imbalance or an infection can disrupt this harmony.

What is tested and how?

You have successfully collected the stool sample from the diaper or potty, filled out the questionnaire, and handed the valuable cargo over to the post. What happens next?

The stool samples are prepared for analysis in the laboratory. For this purpose, the bacteria in the sample are separated from the other stool components. In our analysis, we examine the DNA of the bacteria from the gut and use this for the identification of the bacteria (the method is called Whole Genome Sequencing or WGS for short). This allows us to make precise statements regarding the type of bacteria (which species were present in the stool sample) as well as the ratio of the occurring bacteria (how many of which bacteria were present). This is related to the information you provided in the questionnaire. Together, this then results in a detailed report on the current state of your child's microbiome.

  • Prof. Dr. Lindsay Hall

    TUM Professorship "Intestinal Microbiome"

    Group Leader Microbiome at the Quadram Institute (UK) with a research focus on the microbiome of infants

  • Prof. Dr. med. Johannes Hübner

    LMU Professorship


    Deputy Director of the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital Munich

  • Dr. Danial Taherzadeh

    Deep-Tech entrepreneur and TUM bioinformatician with a research focus on microbial ecosystems

  • Dr. Nina Heppner

    TUM doctoral student in microbiology with a research focus on the microbiome of infants

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