Bifidobacterium breve

Bifidobacterium breve (B. breve) holds a special position in the microbiota of the infant gut. While B. longum is most commonly found in our data, it is B. breve that is found in overall greater amounts in the infant gut. There are various factors that could contribute to this observation.

During birth, the newborn comes into direct contact with the maternal gut and vaginal flora, leading to an early colonization of the infant's gut by various Bifidobacteria, including B. breve. Some research suggests that breast milk often contains B. breve, although the exact prevalence may vary.

Another notable point is the interaction of B. breve with Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs). While B. infantis is known for its ability to metabolize HMOs internally, B. breve metabolizes these oligosaccharides more externally. This is done by releasing enzymes that break down HMOs into smaller units, which are then further metabolized by B. breve. This external degradation can result in some degradation products remaining in the gut, which can be utilized by other bacteria. This can not only affect the infant's gut health but also shape the entire microbial ecosystem of the infant's gut.