Utilisation of N-glycans from breast milk by infant-associated microbes

Year of award: 2021


  • Dr Lucy Crouch

    University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Project summary

There are more bacteria in a person's gut than there are stars in our galaxy and it is the densest ecosystem on the planet. These microorganisms are collectively known as the human gut microbiota and we have a mutualistic relationship with them; we provide them with nutrients and they contribute to health throughout our lives. This is especially important for our development when we are very young. To understand the many connections that form this complex relationship in infants, my research focuses on how these microorganisms extract their nutrients from breast milk glycoproteins. I will look at how the bacteria use these nutrients and characterise the molecular details of the key enzymes. The findings of this project will provide new prebiotics and/or probiotics for use in infant formula to increase its similarity to breast milk. This will provide those infants without access to breast milk with the health advantages that are associated with breast milk.