Evaluation of Potential Probiotics Isolated from Human Milk and Colostrum


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.

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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.

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Correspondence to Flaviano S. Martins.

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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).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Damaceno, Q.S., Souza, J.P., Nicoli, J.R. et al. Evaluation of Potential Probiotics Isolated from Human Milk and Colostrum. Probiotics & Antimicro. Prot. 9, 371–379 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12602-017-9270-1

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  • Human milk
  • Colostrum
  • Partum
  • Body mass index
  • Probiotics
  • L. gasseri