About this Research Topic
The human gut harbours a dense and diverse microbial ecosystem which contributes to health by providing beneficial metabolic, trophic and protective functions; production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), vitamins and other key metabolites; regulation of the immune system, and colonization resistance against pathogens. The infant gut is generally considered sterile at birth. However the different sections of the GI tract will be rapidly colonized first by facultative anaerobes followed by strict anaerobic microbes. The pioneer microbes are recognized as key players for gut maturation, metabolic and immunologic programming, and have important consequences for short- and long-term health. However the colonization process is highly complex and influenced by numerous parameters including the type of food and the mode of feeding, human milk, formula and mixed diet. However infant colonization is not completely resolved, and in particular the impact of dietary factors and the complex host-microbiota mutualism related to infant health are not fully understood.
Research articles to be published in this topic should contribute understanding infant gut microbiota colonization sequence and mechanisms, the specific role of dietary factors in this complex process, and the contribution of microbes and diet to short- and long-term health.
Several questions could be addressed as indicated in the list below.
What is the origin and identity of infant gut microbes? What is the microbial sequence of colonization and the related functional effects during the first weeks, months and years of life?
What is the effect of the mode of feeding and dietary factors to infant gut colonization? What is the contribution of breast feeding, and especially components acting on microbes and microbes from human milk to infant gut health? What is the influence of infant formula on the gut microbiota establishment? What is the impact of functional components, such as pro- and pre-biotics, during the colonization process?
What is the impact of perinatal factors such as the mode of delivery and/or gestational age on infant gut colonization and especially on maternal microbiota and milk microbes contributing to the microbial colonization?
How can specific intestinal microbes and complex gut microbiota modulate intestinal immunity and contribute to infant health? What is the trophic effect of the gut microbiota and its role on infant growth?
Keywords: infant gut microbiota, microbial colonization, food impact, functional food, intestinal immunity
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