Gastric pH and microflora of normal and diarrhoeic infants

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1975-01-01

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The microflora and pH of gastric contents were determined in breast fed and in bottle fed normal infants, in well nourished infants with acute diarrhoea and in infants with chronic diarrhoea and protein calorie malnutrition. The last group of infants was reevaluated after recovery from diarrhoea and protein calorie malnutrition. A bactericidal pH effect below 2.5 was observed. Bottle fed controls had low pH values and low bacterial concentrations, whereas infants with chronic diarrhoea and protein calorie malnutrition had high pH values and bacterial overgrowth, essentially of Gram negative bacilli. After recovery, the only remaining alteration was the frequent isolation of yeast like fungi in low concentrations. Infants with acute diarrhoea, except for the isolation more frequently of yeast like fungi, presented no alterations; this seems to indicate that pH alterations and Gram negative bacilli overgrowth occurred during the evolution of the disease to a chronic state. Breast fed normal infants had hydrogen ion concentrations similar to those of the chronic diarrhoea group, but without Gram negative bacilli overgrowth, suggesting that other factors, besides pH, regulate bacterial growth in the gastric contents of these groups of infants.

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Gut, v. 16, n. 9, p. 719-726, 1975.

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