Working in collaboration with the Shanghai Institute of Pediatric Research, scientists from Chr Hansen discovered bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the breast milk collected from Chinese mothers.
Previous research has shown that breast milk from Western women contains bacteria, including bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.
The same has since been assumed of breast milk from women around the world.
Seeking to validate this assumption, researchers from Chr Hansen and the Shanghai Institute of Pediatric Research tested for bacteria in breast milk collected from Chinese women.
"We see differences between populations. We see differences in the human microbiome. But the expectation was that we would find bacteria in Chinese breast milk," Mikkel Jungersen, scientific advisor for human health and nutrition, Chr Hansen, told DairyReporter.com.
"The study set out to test whether there are bacteria in the breast milk of Chinese mothers, as we've seen in the breast milk of Western populations."
"Good reason" to add probiotics
Studies have shown Chr Hansen's probiotic Bifidobacterium strain BB-12 may be "effective in preventing gastrointestinal and respiratory infections in infants and children."
Chr Hansen's portfolio also includes LGG, a lactobacillus probiotic.
Many infant formula products available in China already contains probiotics, said Jungersen.
But the study, presented at the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition 2015 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam last week, shows "bifidobacteria and/or lactobacilli are essential additives to nutritious infant formula," he said.
"What we see from this study is that there is good reason to add good bacteria to infant formula to help the infant develop a good gut microbiota."
"We know they are very important for the development of a healthy microbiota in infants and therefore a good immune system," he said. "From our point of view, it makes sense to add probiotics to infant formula in order to ensure infants have a healthy development of the guy microbiota."