[Literature library] Utilization of individual human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) by Bifidobacterium strains

2 min read /
General Nutrition Paediatrics

HMOs are considered as main metabolites from human milk which have a direct impact on the gut microbiota composition of infants, yet how particular bacteria respond to individual HMO is not clear. In this study, 12 bacterial strains were isolated from breastfed infant faeces, so as to examine their ability to utilize 5 major HMOs* as a carbon source. Results showed that:

Growth of isolated bacterial strains

  • Bifidobacterium infantis Y538 completely utilized all 5 tested HMOs
  • Bifidobacterium dentium Y510 and Y521 partially utilized LNT and LNnT only, at a relatively low efficiency
    • Only galactose moiety was degraded
    • Lacto-N-triose (LNTII) moiety was released
  • Other 9 strains did not grow significantly on the tested HMOs compared to the controls without carbon source

Two β-Galactosidases characterized from Bifidobacterium dentium Y510

  • Both acted intracellularly
  • β-Galactosidase Bdg42A hydrolyzed LNT into galactose and LNTII
  • β-Galactosidase Bdg2A hydrolyzed type-2 oligosaccharides such as lactose and LNnT

* 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL), 3-fucosyllactose (3-FL), Difucosyllactose (DFL), lacto-N-tetraose (LNT) and lacto-N-neotetraose (LNnT)

Link to the full article:


Moya-Gonzálvez EM et al. Infant-gut associated Bifidobacterium dentium strains utilize the galactose moiety and release lacto-N-triose from the human milk oligosaccharides lacto-N-tetraose and lacto-N-neotetraose. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):23328.

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