Fecal volatile organic compounds in preterm infants are influenced by enteral feeding composition

Sofia el Manouni el Hassani, Hendrik J. Niemarkt, Hager Said, Daniel J. C. Berkhout, Anton H. van Kaam, Richard A. van Lingen, Marc A. Benninga, Nanne K. H. de Boer, Tim G. J. de Meij

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Fecal volatile organic compound (VOC) analysis has shown great potential as a noninvasive diagnostic biomarker for a variety of diseases. Before clinical implementation, the factors influencing the outcome of VOC analysis need to be assessed. Recent studies found that the sampling conditions can influence the outcome of VOC analysis. However, the dietary influences remains unknown, especially in (preterm) infants. Therefore, we assessed the effects of feeding composition on fecal VOC patterns of preterm infants (born at <30 weeks gestation). Two subgroups were defined: (1) daily intake >75% breastmilk (BM) feeding and (2) daily intake >75% formula milk (FM) feeding. Fecal samples, which were collected at 7, 14 and 21 days postnatally, were analyzed by an electronic nose device (Cyranose 320®). In total, 30 preterm infants were included (15 FM, 15 BM). No differences in the fecal VOC patterns were observed at the three predefined time-points. Combining the fecal VOC profiles of these time-points resulted in a statistically significant difference between the two subgroups although this discriminative accuracy was only modest (AUC [95% CI]; p-value; sensitivity; and specificity of 0.64 [0.51–0.77]; 0.04; 68%; and 51%, respectively). Our results suggest that the influence of enteral feeding on the outcome of fecal VOC analysis cannot be ignored in this population. Furthermore, in both subgroups, the fecal VOC patterns showed a stable longitudinal course within the first month of life.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3037
JournalSensors (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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