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OBJECTIVE: To find out the self-motivated cadence of intestinal microbiota by zinc obtainability with help of next generation sequencing.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted on infants aging 1-4 months from Peshawar, Pakistan. Out of 50 infants enrolled in study, data of 46 healthy infants [23 breast-fed (BF) and 23 formula-fed (FF)] were available for final analysis. Their blood and stool samples were collected and analyzed for zinc and fecal DNA extraction, for metagenomic shot gun sequencing using next generation.
RESULTS: Mean age of infants was 78.40±35.88 days. Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria are the four dominating major phyla found in the gut microbiota of the sample population. In breast-fed infants, mean plasma zinc was 0.138 ± 0.118 mg/L whereas, in formula-fed infants it was 0.120±0. 026 mg/L. Correlation of zinc levels with gut microbes revealed that Phylum Bacteroidetes was very low in breast-fed while in formula-fed infants it was negligible to an extent that cannot be correlated with zinc. It was also observed that there is abundance of Proteobacteria (BF: r=-0.276, p=0.264) and (FF: r= -0.043, p= 0.873) in both the zinc deficient groups whereas, Firmicutes content was (BF: r= 0.392, p=0.207) and (FF: r= -0.030, p= 0.905).
CONCLUSION: Both breast-fed and formula-fed infants had low gut microbial diversity due to low zinc levels emphasizing the need to address and rectify this problem. The improved zinc status of the infants will enable the researchers to establish and ascertain the association of zinc status with the diversity of microbiome.
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