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Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003 Exopolysaccharide Modulates the Early Life Microbiota by Acting as a Potential Dietary Substrate

  • 2020-03-29
  • Nutrients 12(4)
    • Deborah Püngel
    • A. Treveil
    • M. Dalby
    • Shabhonam Caim
    • I. Colquhoun
    • C. Booth
    • Jennifer Ketskemety
    • T. Korcsmáros
    • D. van Sinderen
    • Melissa A. E. Lawson
    • L. Hall


Background: Bifidobacterium represents an important early life microbiota member. Specific bifidobacterial components, exopolysaccharides (EPS), positively modulate host responses, with purified EPS also suggested to impact microbe-microbe interactions by acting as a nutrient substrate. Thus, we determined the longitudinal effects of bifidobacterial EPS on microbial communities and metabolite profiles using an infant model colon system.

Methods: Differential gene expression and growth characteristics were determined for each strain; Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003 and corresponding isogenic EPS-deletion mutant (B. breve UCC2003del). Model colon vessels were inoculated with B. breve and microbiome dynamics monitored using 16S rRNA sequencing and metabolomics (NMR).

Results: Transcriptomics of EPS mutant vs. B. breve UCC2003 highlighted discrete differential gene expression (e.g., eps biosynthetic cluster), though overall growth dynamics between strains were unaffected. The EPS-positive vessel had significant shifts in microbiome and metabolite profiles until study end (405 h); with increases of Tyzzerella and Faecalibacterium, and short-chain fatty acids, with further correlations between taxa and metabolites which were not observed within the EPS-negative vessel.

Conclusions: These data indicate that B. breve UCC2003 EPS is potentially metabolized by infant microbiota members, leading to differential microbial metabolism and altered metabolite by-products. Overall, these findings may allow development of EPS-specific strategies to promote infant health.

Keywords: 16S rRNA profiling; Bifidobacterium; cross-feeding; diet; early life; exopolysaccharides; metabolomics; model colon.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bifidobacterium breveAltered Gut Microbiome CompositionBeneficial
Bifidobacterium breveIncreased Short-Chain Fatty Acid ProductionBeneficial

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