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Microbiota, minerals and exposure to toxics interactions during the first 1000 days of life: identification of biomarkers and development of new dietary strategies

19th national competition for scientific and technical research

Food security and biotechnology

Senior Researcher : María Carmen Collado Amores

Research Centre or Institution : Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA). CSIC.


The first 1000 days after conception are crucial for the human development and health, as well as it is a key period for the microbiota establishment and the immune system maturation where the excess / deficiency of certain micronutrients and the exposure to toxic substances would have a relevant impact. Thus, our main objective is to study the interaction between microbiota and the exposure to essential and toxic metals in the maternal-neonatal dyads and its influence on health.

The gut microbiota of pregnant women and breastfed neonates were profiled by use of 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing in Illumina Platform. In parallel, The absolute quantification of elements: Pb, Cd, Al, Co, Cu, Fe, Tl, As, Zn, Ni, Mn, Se, Cr, Mo, Sb, Hg, Sn, V and untargeted relative metabolomic profiles were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, respectively  in urine and breast milk samples.

Specific associations between microbiota, minerals and metabolites were identified. Interestingly, we have detected the presence of As, Pb and Cd in breast milk samples at higher values than those detected in urine samples. Our data provided novel information on the impact of food on the gut microbiota and the key relationships between minerals and toxics with certain bacterial groups. These results allow the identification of potential biological markers aimed to support the development of potential dietary strategies targeted to the prevention and reduction of the risk of noncommunicable diseases such as obesity, allergies, diabetes where microbiota alterations are considered potential contributors.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 15
Communications at national conferences 3
Communications at international conferences 5


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