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BMB Reports  2012 

Human milk oligosaccharides: the novel modulator of intestinal microbiota

Keywords: Bifidobacterium , Fucose , Human milk oligosaccharide , Intestinal microbiota , N-acetylglucosamine , N-acetylneuraminic acid , Prebiotics , Sialic acid

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Abstract:

Human milk, which nourishes the early infants, is a source ofbioactive components for the infant growth, development andcommensal formulation as well. Human milk oligosaccharide is agroup of complex and diverse glycans that is apparently notabsorbed in human gastrointestinal tract. Although mostmammalian milk contains oligosaccharides, oligosaccharides inhuman milk exhibit unique features in terms of their types,amounts, sizes, and functionalities. In addition to the preventionof infectious bacteria and the development of early immunesystem, human milk oligosaccharides are able to facilitate thehealthy intestinal microbiota. Bifidobacterial intestinal microbiotaappears to be established by the unilateral interaction betweenmilk oligosaccharides, human intestinal activity and commensals.Digestibility, membrane transportation and catabolic activity bybacteria and intestinal epithelial cells, all of which are linked tothe structural of human milk oligosaccharides, are crucial indetermining intestinal microbiota.

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