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Examination of Carbohydrate Products in Feces Reveals Potential Biomarkers Distinguishing Exclusive and Nonexclusive Breastfeeding Practices in Infants.



The stable isotope deuterium dose-to-mother (DTM) technique to estimate nonbreast milk water intake demonstrates that maternal self-report methods of infant feeding overestimate the true prevalence of exclusively breastfeeding practices.


We aimed to determine potential monosaccharide and oligosaccharide markers that distinguish between exclusively breastfed (EBF) versus nonexclusively breastfed (non-EBF) infants utilizing LC-MS-based methods.


Data for the analysis were collected as part of a larger, longitudinal study of 192 breastfed Indonesian infants aged 2 mo and followed up at 5 mo. Feces samples were collected from infants aged 2 mo (n = 188) and 5 mo (n = 184). EBF and non-EBF strata at each time point were determined via the DTM technique. Feces samples were analyzed to determine monosaccharide content using ultra-high-performance LC-triple quadrupole MS (UHPLC-QqQ MS). Relative abundances of fecal oligosaccharides were determined using nano-LC-Chip-quadrupole time-of-flight MS (nano-LC-Chip-Q-ToF MS).


At age 2 mo, monosaccharide analysis showed the abundance of fructose and mannose were significantly higher (+377% and +388%, respectively) in non-EBF compared with EBF infants (P <0.0001). Fructose and mannose also showed good discrimination with areas under the curve (AUC) of 0.86 and 0.82, respectively. Oligosaccharide analysis showed that a 6-hexose (Hex6) isomer had good discrimination (AUC = 0.80) between EBF and non-EBF groups at 5 mo.


Carbohydrate products, particularly fecal mono- and oligosaccharides, differed between EBF and non-EBF infants aged under 6 mo and can be used as potential biomarkers to distinguish EBF versus non-EBF feeding practices.

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