European Journal of Clinical Microbiology

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 273–278 | Cite as

Effect of iron on neonatal gut flora during the first three months of life

  • E. A. E. Mevissen-Verhage
  • J. H. Marcelis
  • W. C. M. Harmsen-Van Amerongen
  • N. M. de Vos
  • J. Verhoef
Original Articles


To study the effect of milk supplemented with iron on neonatal gut flora, faecal specimens of ten infants receiving breast milk, six receiving a cow-milk preparation supplemented with iron (5 mg/l) and seven receiving the same product without iron supplement (iron concentration <0.5 mg/l) were examined during the first 12 weeks of life. In breast-fed infants bifidobacteria was predominant, counts ofEscherichia coli were low, and other bacteria were rarely present. Infants receiving fortified cow-milk preparation had high counts ofEscherichia coli, counts and isolation frequency of bifidobacteria were low and other bacteria were frequently isolated. In those on unfortified cow-milk preparation isolation frequency ofEscherichia coli, bifidobacteria and bacteroides was comparable with that in breast-fed infants; however, counts ofEscherichia coli were high. It is concluded that the faecal flora of infants fed unfortified cow-milk preparation acquires characteristics of that found in breast-fed infants.


Iron Internal Medicine Breast Milk Iron Concentration Iron Supplement 
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Copyright information

© Vieweg Publishing 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. A. E. Mevissen-Verhage
    • 1
  • J. H. Marcelis
    • 1
  • W. C. M. Harmsen-Van Amerongen
    • 1
  • N. M. de Vos
    • 1
  • J. Verhoef
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of MicrobiologyState University of UtrechtGG UtrechtThe Netherlands

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