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Human Milk Oligosaccharides Exhibit Biofilm Eradication Activity Against Matured Biofilms Formed by Different Pathogen Species

  • Jarzynka, Sylwia1
  • Spott, Riccardo2, 3
  • Tchatchiashvili, Tinatini2, 3
  • Ueberschaar, Nico4
  • Martinet, Mark Grevsen2
  • Strom, Kamila1
  • Kryczka, Tomasz5
  • Wesołowska, Aleksandra6
  • Pletz, Mathias W.2, 3
  • Olędzka, Gabriela1
  • Makarewicz, Oliwia2, 3
  • 1 Department of Medical Biology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw , (Poland)
  • 2 Institute of Infectious Diseases and Infection Control, Jena University Hospital, Jena , (Germany)
  • 3 IncfectoGnostics Research Campus, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena , (Germany)
  • 4 Mass Spectrometry Platform, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena , (Germany)
  • 5 Department of Development of Nursing, Social and Medical Sciences, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw , (Poland)
  • 6 Department of Medical Biology, Laboratory of Human Milk and Lactation Research at Regional Human Milk Bank in Holy Family Hospital, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw , (Poland)
Published Article
Frontiers in Microbiology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jan 05, 2022
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.794441
  • Microbiology
  • Original Research


Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) have been shown to exhibit plenty of benefits for infants, such as prebiotic activity shaping the gut microbiota and immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activity. For some pathogenic bacteria, antimicrobial activity has been proved, but most studies focus on group B streptococci. In the present study, we investigated the antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities of the total and fractionated HMOs from pooled human milk against four common human pathogenic Gram-negative species (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Burkholderia cenocepacia) and three Gram-positive species (Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, and Enterococcus faecalis). The activity of HMOs against enterococci and B. cenocepacia are addressed here for the first time. We showed that HMOs exhibit a predominant activity against the Gram-positive species, with E. faecalis being the most sensitive to the HMOs, both in planktonic bacteria and in biofilms. In further tests, we could exclude fucosyllactose as the antibacterial component. The biological significance of these findings may lie in the prevention of skin infections of the mother’s breast as a consequence of breastfeeding-induced skin laceration and/or protection of the infants’ nasopharynx and lung from respiratory pathogens such as staphylococci.

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