Date of this Version
Scientific (2021) 11:1472 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80583-9
The gut microbiome plays an important role in early life, protecting newborns from enteric pathogens, promoting immune system development and providing key functions to the infant host. Currently, there are limited data to broadly assess the status of the US healthy infant gut microbiome. To address this gap, we performed a multi-state metagenomic survey and found high levels of bacteria associated with enteric inflammation (e.g. Escherichia, Klebsiella), antibiotic resistance genes, and signatures of dysbiosis, independent of location, age, and diet. Bifidobacterium were less abundant than generally expected and the species identified, including B. breve, B. longum and B. bifidum, had limited genetic capacity to metabolize human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), while B. infantis strains with a complete capacity for HMOs utilization were found to be exceptionally rare. Considering microbiome composition and functional capacity, this survey revealed a previously unappreciated dysbiosis that is widespread in the contemporary US infant gut microbiome.