The core phageome and its interrelationship with preterm human milk lipids

Wen C. Yew, Gregory R. Young, Andrew Nelson, William Cheung, Christopher J. Stewart, Simon H. Bridge, Claire Granger, Janet E. Berrington, Nicholas D. Embleton, Darren L. Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


Phages and lipids in human milk (HM) may benefit preterm infant health by preventing gastrointestinal pathobiont overgrowth and microbiome modulation. Lipid association may promote vertical transmission of phages to the infant. Despite this, interrelationships between lipids and phages are poorly characterized in preterm HM. Shotgun metagenomics and untargeted lipidomics of phage and lipid profiles from 99 preterm HM samples reveals that phages are abundant and prevalent from the first week and throughout the first 100 days of lactation. Phage-host richness of preterm HM increases longitudinally. Core phage communities characterized by Staphylococcus- and Propionibacterium-infecting phages are significantly correlated with long-chain fatty acid abundances over lactational age. We report here a phage-lipid interaction in preterm HM, highlighting the potential importance of phage carriage in preterm HM. These results reveal possible strategies for phage carriage in HM and their importance in early-life microbiota development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113373
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages1
JournalCell Reports
Issue number11
Early online date16 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023

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