Dissecting the role of milk components on gut microbiota composition

Elizabeth A. Maga, Bart C Weimer, James D. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The composition of human milk is tailored to contribute to the development of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of newborns and infants. Importantly, human milk contains the antimicrobial compounds lysozyme and lactoferrin that are thought to contribute to the formation of a health-promoting microbiota. As these protective factors are lacking in the milk of dairy animals, we genetically engineered goats expressing human lysozyme in their milk and have recently reported a new animal model to dissect out the role of milk components on gut microbiota formation. Using the pig as a more human-relevant animal model, we demonstrated that consumption of lysozyme-rich milk enriched the abundance of bacteria associated with GI health and decreased those associated with disease, much like human milk. This work demonstrated that the pig is a valid animal model for gut microbiome studies on the effects of dietary components on microbiota composition, host-microbe interactions and state of the intestine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-139
Number of pages4
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Gut microbiota
  • Intestine
  • Lysozyme
  • Pig model
  • Transgenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Dissecting the role of milk components on gut microbiota composition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this