Abstract: The aim of the study was to compare the compositions of the fecal microbiotas of infants fed goat milk formula to those of infants fed cow milk formula or breast milk as the gold standard. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene sequences was used in the analysis of the microbiotas in stool samples collected from 90 Australian babies (30 in each group) at 2 months of age. Beta-diversity analysis of total microbiota sequences and Lachnospiraceae sequences revealed that they were more similar in breast milk/goat milk comparisons than in breast milk/cow milk comparisons. The Lachnospiraceae were mostly restricted to a single species (Ruminococcus gnavus) in breast milk-fed and goat milk-fed babies compared to a more diverse collection in cow milk-fed babies. Bifidobacteriaceae were abundant in the microbiotas of infants in all three groups. Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve, and Bifidobacterium bifidum were the most commonly detected bifidobacterial species. A semiquantitative PCR method was devised to differentiate between B. longum subsp. longum and B. longum subsp.infantis and was used to test stool samples. B. longum subsp. infantis was seldom present in stools, even of breast milk-fed babies. The presence of B. bifidum in the stools of breast milk-fed infants at abundances greater than 10% of the total microbiota was associated with the highest total abundances ofBifidobacteriaceae. When Bifidobacteriaceae abundance was low, Lachnospiraceaeabundances were greater. New information about the composition of the fecal microbiota when goat milk formula is used in infant nutrition was thus obtained.
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