Oligosaccharides from feces of preterm infants fed on breast milk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Nine neutral and five acidic oligosaccharides were isolated from feces of a preterm (30th postmenstrual week) blood group A nonsecretor infant fed on pooled breast milk. Structural analyses were carried out using sugar and methylation analyses, fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry, and 1H NMR. The acidic oligosaccharides are well-known components of human milk. The neutral oligosaccharides are characteristic of nonsecretor milk. Surprisingly, no secretor gene-dependent oligosaccharides were present in the feces. Another preterm (27th postmenstrual week) blood group A, secretor infant fed on pooled breast milk showed the same fecal oligosaccharide pattern as above during the first week after birth, despite being a secretor individual. Also notable was the absence of blood group A-active oligosaccharides in this sample. Another sample of feces collected 8 weeks later from the latter infant contained the expected blood group A-active oligosaccharides. Furthermore, free sialic acid was present at the cost of the sialyl oligosaccharides seen earlier. Thus, infants born prematurely do not show the same degree of development of oligosaccharide metabolism as their more mature counterparts.


  • Hemant Sabharwal
  • Bo Nilsson
  • Gunnar Grönberg
  • Alan Chester
  • Jamal Dakour
  • Sture Sjöblad
  • Arne Lundblad
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Hematology
  • Pediatrics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-406
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Publication categoryResearch