Infant gut microbiome is enriched with Bifidobacterium longum ssp. infantis in Old Order Mennonites with traditional farming lifestyle

Antti E. Seppo, Kevin Bu, Madina Jumabaeva, Juilee Thakar, Rakin A. Choudhury, Chloe Yonemitsu, Lars Bode, Camille A. Martina, Maria Allen, Sabrina Tamburini, Enrica Piras, David S. Wallach, R. John Looney, Jose C. Clemente, Kirsi M. Järvinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Growing up on traditional, single-family farms is associated with protection against asthma in school age, but the mechanisms against early manifestations of atopic disease are largely unknown. We sought determine the gut microbiome and metabolome composition in rural Old Order Mennonite (OOM) infants at low risk and Rochester, NY urban/suburban infants at high risk for atopic diseases. Methods: In a cohort of 65 OOM and 39 Rochester mother-infant pairs, 101 infant stool and 61 human milk samples were assessed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing for microbiome composition and qPCR to quantify Bifidobacterium spp. and B. longum ssp. infantis (B. infantis), a consumer of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). Fatty acids (FAs) were analyzed in 34 stool and human 24 milk samples. Diagnoses and symptoms of atopic diseases by 3 years of age were assessed by telephone. Results: At a median age of 2 months, stool was enriched with Bifidobacteriaceae, Clostridiaceae, and Aerococcaceae in the OOM compared with Rochester infants. B. infantis was more abundant (p <.001) and prevalent, detected in 70% of OOM compared with 21% of Rochester infants (p <.001). Stool colonized with B. infantis had higher levels of lactate and several medium- to long/odd-chain FAs. In contrast, paired human milk was enriched with a distinct set of FAs including butyrate. Atopic diseases were reported in 6.5% of OOM and 35% of Rochester children (p <.001). Conclusion: A high rate of B. infantis colonization, similar to that seen in developing countries, is found in the OOM at low risk for atopic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3489-3503
Number of pages15
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Bifidobacterium
  • allergy
  • farming lifestyle
  • human milk
  • microbiome


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