There is some evidence that early colonization of the intestine affects the composition of the intestinal microbiota after weaning. In the present study, the effect of prebiotics administered from the first day of life on fecal counts of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli were studied during and after the administration of the prebiotics. In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, explorative study, 20 newborns of hepatitis C virus-infected mothers who decided not to breast feed due to their concerns regarding their plasma viral load were randomly assigned to either a formula with 8 g/L of a specific prebiotic mixture (short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides, ratio 9:1) or a formula containing the same amount of maltodextrin (placebo). Clinical examination including anthropometric measurements, microbiological analysis of fecal samples, and blood leukocyte population analysis were performed at birth and 3, 6, and 12mo age. At the age of 12 mo, hepatitis B vaccine-specific IgG serum titers (Hepatitis B virus surface antibodies) were also measured. Prebiotic supplementation resulted in more fecal bifidobacteria (P, 0.0001) and lactobacilli (P = 0.0044) compared with the placebo group. These differences between the groups were maintained during the second half of the first year without any prebiotic supplementation. There was no influence of the different diets on anthropometric data or the measured immunological variables. The data from this small explorative study indicate that early colonization of the intestine might have long-lasting effects on the composition of the intestinal microbiota.,
The Journal of Nutrition
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Salvini, F, Riva, E, Salvatici, E, Boehm, G, Jelinek, J, Banderali, G, & Giovannini, M. (2011). A specific prebiotic mixture added to starting infant formula has long-lasting bifidogenic effects. The Journal of Nutrition, 141(7), 1335–1339. doi:10.3945/jn.110.136747