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Manipulating the neonatal gut microbiome: current understanding and future perspectives
  1. Emma Wong1,
  2. Kei Lui1,
  3. Andrew S Day1,2,
  4. Steven T Leach1
  1. 1 School of Women's and Children's Health, UNSW Medicine, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago Christchurch, Christchurch, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Steven T Leach, Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia; s.leach{at}


The development of a healthy intestinal microbiome following birth contributes to the overall health of the infant during childhood and into adulthood. However, modern birth practices such as caesarean delivery, feeding, antibiotic exposure as well as maternal factors have the potential to greatly impact infant microbiome development. Aberrant microbiome development may be a key factor in the increasing incidence of inflammatory and gut diseases. This review will summarise the current understanding of how modern birth practices may contribute to deficiencies in neonatal gut microbiome development and will also present potential methods of microbiome engineering that aim to ensure the development of a healthy and robust microbiome to protect the host from disease throughout their life.

  • neonatology
  • microbiology
  • gastroenterology

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  • Contributors EW, SL, KL and ASD generated the idea, wrote, edited and agreed on the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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