The Indian Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 1–5 | Cite as

Molecular Characterization of Bacterial Colonization in the Preterm and Term Infant’s Intestine

  • J. C. Hallab
  • S. T. Leach
  • L. Zhang
  • H. M. Mitchell
  • J. Oei
  • K. Lui
  • A. S. Day
Original Article



To further define patterns of colonising intestinal microflora in newborn infants utilising molecular methods.


Ten term and 5 preterm (<32 wk) infants born at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney, Australia were enrolled in the present study and followed for 6 mo post partum. Serial stools were collected, DNA was extracted and subjected to PCR-Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis using a range of primers and sequencing. The effect of gestational length, feeding and delivery method was compared to the pattern of bacterial acquisition.


Intestinal bacterial diversity was lower in preterm compared with term infants. For term infants, bacterial DNA detection rates were not associated with feeding or delivery method, although Enterobacteria and Clostridia were commonly identified. The detection rate of Bifidobacteria was lower in preterm infants than term infants. Potential pathogens were detected in preterm infant samples.


Preterm infants frequently have aberrant bacterial colonization of the intestine. Further research is now required to determine if this may contribute to adverse health outcomes.


Preterm Infant Intestinal bacteria Colonisation DGGE 



The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Jani O’Rourke for providing positive control bacteria, Dr. Heather-Anne Marie Schmidt for technical support and Nollaig Shalloo for assistance with sample collection. Laboratory work was undertaken, in part, in the Westfield Research Laboratories, Sydney Children's Hospital.

Conflicts of Interest


Role of Funding Source

This study was supported, in part, with a grant from the Leslie Stevens fund for Newborn care, Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Hallab
    • 3
  • S. T. Leach
    • 4
  • L. Zhang
    • 3
  • H. M. Mitchell
    • 3
  • J. Oei
    • 2
  • K. Lui
    • 2
    • 4
  • A. S. Day
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of GastroenterologySydney Children’s HospitalRandwickAustralia
  2. 2.Neonatal Care Unit, Royal Hospital for WomenSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biochemistry and BiotechnologyUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Women’s and Children’s HealthUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Otago (Christchurch)ChristchurchNew Zealand

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