Over the past century, there has been a steady increase in the stool pH of infants from industrialized countries. Analysis of historical data revealed a strong association between abundance of Bifidobacterium
in the gut microbiome of breasted infants and stool pH, suggesting that this taxon plays a key role in determining the pH in the gut. Bifidobacterium longum
is uniquely equipped to metabolize human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) from breastmilk into acidic end products, mainly lactate and acetate. The presence of these acidic compounds in the infant gut is linked to a lower stool pH. Conversely, infants lacking B. infantis
have a significantly higher stool pH, carry a higher abundance of potential pathogens and mucus-eroding bacteria in their gut microbiomes, and have signs of chronic enteric inflammation. This suggests the presence of B. infantis
and low intestinal pH may be critical to maintaining a protective environment in the infant gut. Here, we summarize recent studies demonstrating that feeding B. infantis
EVC001 to breastfed infants results in significantly lower fecal pH compared to controls and propose that low pH is one critical factor in preventing the invasion and overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the infant gut, a process known as colonization resistance.
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