Understanding the diversity of maternal microbiota species Bifidobacterium using culturing and genomic approaches

Smith, Rhianna-Lily (2023) Understanding the diversity of maternal microbiota species Bifidobacterium using culturing and genomic approaches. Masters thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The establishment of the gut microbiota starts at birth, and colonisation of this early-life microbial community has a significant impact during infancy and in later life. It is now appreciated that the maternal microbiota also plays a vital role during pregnancy, with rapid changes in the microbiota composition observed throughout the gestation period. Disturbances in the maternal microbiota have also been identified as a risk factor for many diseases and complications during pregnancy. There has been limited work on the maternal microbiota and its composition, particularly an in-depth characterisation of beneficial genera such as Bifidobacterium. Recently, studies have suggested this bacterial group may modulate maternal health and foetal development, and therefore this project aims to identify which species and strains of Bifidobacterium are present in the maternal microbiota throughout healthy pregnancy, using a combination of culturing techniques and whole genome sequencing. A total of 140 Bifidobacterium colonies were cultured and isolated from 12 pregnant women during 3 timepoints during gestation and 1 post birth. Five Bifidobacterium species were found, with the majority identified in Bifidobacterium longum and Bifidobacterium animalis. The genomes were run through several bioinformatics programmes to identify and visualise both the phylogenetic relationships between the isolates, and several known human milk oligosaccharide clusters and antimicrobial resistance genes; which were found in all 5 species. Although many of the Bifidobacterium animalis strains were shared among participants, all Bifidobacterium longum strains were participant specific. This research offers essential insights into Bifidobacterium species and strains that reside in the maternal gut, and their overall diversity and functional traits that they encode. This data presented here may allow additional studies to further our understanding on how this genus contributes to maternal wellbeing.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2023 12:55
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2023 12:55
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/92994


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