Methods for exploring the faecal microbiome of premature infants: a review

Westaway, Jacob A.F, Huerlimann, Roger, Miller, Catherine M., Kandasamy, Yoga, Norton, Robert, and Rudd, Donna (2021) Methods for exploring the faecal microbiome of premature infants: a review. Maternal health, neonatology and perinatology, 7 (11).

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The premature infant gut microbiome plays an important part in infant health and development, and recognition of the implications of microbial dysbiosis in premature infants has prompted significant research into these issues. The approaches to designing investigations into microbial populations are many and varied, each with its own benefits and limitations. The technique used can influence results, contributing to heterogeneity across studies. This review aimed to describe the most common techniques used in researching the preterm infant microbiome, detailing their various limitations. The objective was to provide those entering the field with a broad understanding of available methodologies, so that the likely effects of their use can be factored into literature interpretation and future study design. We found that although many techniques are used for characterising the premature infant microbiome, 16S rRNA short amplicon sequencing is the most common. 16S rRNA short amplicon sequencing has several benefits, including high accuracy, discoverability and high throughput capacity. However, this technique has limitations. Each stage of the protocol offers opportunities for the injection of bias. Bias can contribute to variability between studies using 16S rRNA high throughout sequencing. Thus, we recommend that the interpretation of previous results and future study design be given careful consideration.

Item ID: 70875
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2054-958X
Keywords: Microbiome, Premature, Neonate, Dysbiosis
Copyright Information: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2021 02:44
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3213 Paediatrics > 321303 Neonatology @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3207 Medical microbiology > 320701 Medical bacteriology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200104 Prevention of human diseases and conditions @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200201 Determinants of health @ 50%
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