Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 371–379 | Cite as

Evaluation of Potential Probiotics Isolated from Human Milk and Colostrum

  • Quésia S. Damaceno
  • Jaqueline P. Souza
  • Jacques R. Nicoli
  • Raquel L. Paula
  • Gabriela B. Assis
  • Henrique C. Figueiredo
  • Vasco Azevedo
  • Flaviano S. MartinsEmail author


Several studies have demonstrated a diversity of bacterial species in human milk, even in aseptically collected samples. The present study evaluated potential probiotic bacteria isolated from human milk and associated maternal variables. Milk samples were collected from 47 healthy women and cultured on selective and universal agar media under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Bacterial isolates were counted and identified by Biotyper Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight mass spectrometry and then tested for probiotic properties. Total bacteria in human milk ranged from 1.5 to 4.0 log10 CFU/mL. The higher bacterial counts were found in colostrum (mean = 3.9 log10 CFU/mL, 95% CI 3.14–4.22, p = 0.00001). The most abundant species was Staphylococcus epidermidis (n = 76). The potential probiotic candidates were Lactobacillus gasseri (n = 4), Bifidobacterium breve (n = 1), and Streptococcus salivarius (n = 4). Despite the small sample size, L. gasseri was isolated only in breast milk from mothers classified into a normal weight range and after a vaginally delivered partum. No potential probiotics showed antagonism against pathogens, but all of them agglutinated different pathogens. Nine bacterial isolates belonging to the species L. gasseri, B. breve, and S. salivarius were selected as potential probiotics. The present study confirms the presence in breast milk of a bacterial microbiota that could be the source of potential probiotic candidates to be used in the formula of simulated maternal milk.


Human milk Colostrum Partum Body mass index Probiotics L. gasseri 



This work was supported by grants from Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Ministry of Science and Technology, and Foundation for Research Support of the State of Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), Brazil. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. QSD was the recipient of a fellowship from CNPq.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The volunteers were recruited from a public hospital in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and a written informed consent was obtained from each individual. All procedures were performed after approval by the Ethical Committee (CAAE-31473714.0.0000.5149).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Quésia S. Damaceno
    • 1
  • Jaqueline P. Souza
    • 1
  • Jacques R. Nicoli
    • 2
  • Raquel L. Paula
    • 3
  • Gabriela B. Assis
    • 4
  • Henrique C. Figueiredo
    • 4
  • Vasco Azevedo
    • 5
  • Flaviano S. Martins
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biotherapeutic Agents, Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biological SciencesFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Physiology, Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biological SciencesFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.Neonatology, Hospital Sofia FeldmanBelo HorizonteBrazil
  4. 4.AQUACEN, National Reference Laboratory for Aquatic Animal Diseases, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Veterinary SchoolFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  5. 5.Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Genetics, Department of General Biology, Institute of Biological SciencesFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  6. 6.Laboratório de Agentes Bioterapêuticos, Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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