Impact of delivery mode on the colostrum microbiota composition

Marco Toscano, Roberta De Grandi, Diego Giampietro Peroni, Enzo Grossi, Valentina Facchin, Pasquale Comberiati, Lorenzo Drago

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Breast milk is a rich nutrient with a temporally dynamic nature. In particular, numerous alterations in the nutritional, immunological and microbiological content occur during the transition from colostrum to mature milk. The objective of our study was to evaluate the potential impact of delivery mode on the microbiota of colostrum, at both the quantitative and qualitative levels (bacterial abundance and microbiota network). Methods: Twenty-nine Italian mothers (15 vaginal deliveries vs 14 Cesarean sections) were enrolled in the study. The microbiota of colostrum samples was analyzed by next generation sequencing (Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine). The colostrum microbiota network associated with Cesarean section and vaginal delivery was evaluated by means of the Auto Contractive Map (AutoCM), a mathematical methodology based on Artificial Neural Network (ANN) architecture. Results: Numerous differences between Cesarean section and vaginal delivery colostrum were observed. Vaginal delivery colostrum had a significant lower abundance of Pseudomonas spp., Staphylococcus spp. and Prevotella spp. when compared to Cesarean section colostrum samples. Furthermore, the mode of delivery had a strong influence on the microbiota network, as Cesarean section colostrum showed a higher number of bacterial hubs if compared to vaginal delivery, sharing only 5 hubs. Interestingly, the colostrum of mothers who had a Cesarean section was richer in environmental bacteria than mothers who underwent vaginal delivery. Finally, both Cesarean section and vaginal delivery colostrum contained a greater number of anaerobic bacteria genera. Conclusions: The mode of delivery had a large impact on the microbiota composition of colostrum. Further studies are needed to better define the meaning of the differences we observed between Cesarean section and vaginal delivery colostrum microbiota.

Original languageEnglish
Article number205
JournalBMC Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 25 2017


  • Auto contractive map
  • Bacteria
  • Breast milk
  • Colostrum
  • Microbiota
  • Network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of delivery mode on the colostrum microbiota composition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this