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Background: The total number of bacteria present in the gut microbiota of a newborn is consistently lower than the average found in adults, with the extent of this difference being directly related to body weight and age. It could be assumed that a lower number of viable probiotic cells is necessary to achieve significant gut colonization in infants and children. This study assessed the capability of Bifidobacterium breve B632 (DSM 24706) and Bifidobacterium breve BR03 (DSM 16604), 2 strains able to significantly inhibit some gram-negative bacteria in vitro, to integrate into the intestinal microbiota of children.

Materials and methods: Ten healthy children aged an average of 5.7±2.6 were given an oily suspension containing B. breve B632 and B. breve BR03 for 21 consecutive days. The daily dose was 100 million live cells of each strain. Fecal specimens were collected and analyzed at the beginning (d0) and at the end of the study (d21). Total fecal bifidobacteria and coliforms have been quantified by microbiological plate counts.

Results: A significant increase in total fecal bifidobacteria (from 8.99 to 9.47 log10 CFU/g, P=0.042) and a parallel decrease in total coliforms (from 8.60 to 7.93 log10 CFU/g, P=0.048) was recorded after 21 days of supplementation.

Conclusions: An oily suspension has proved an effective way of providing probiotics to children. A lower viable cells concentration was sufficient to mediate this effect in the light of the fact that the intestinal microbiota of children harbors a considerably smaller amount of total bacteria compared with adults. In addition to gut colonization in healthy children, B. breve B632 and B. breve BR03 were able to decrease total fecal coliforms, therefore supporting their potential specific use in colicky infants.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bifidobacterium breve BR03Increased Fecal Bifidobacteria LevelsBeneficial
Bifidobacterium breve BR03Reduced Coliform CountsBeneficial

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