Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Microbiology and Immunology


Dr. Gregor Reid


The aims of this study were to characterize the gut, oral, and vaginal microbiotas of pregnant women with varying nutritional status and to determine if daily supplementation with probiotic yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and ground Moringa leaves, would ‘normalize’ the microbiota and improve pregnancy outcomes. For the latter, a clinical study was performed in Mwanza, Tanzania, in which consumption of yogurt for 88 ± 31 days, starting from the second trimester, did not result in excess weight gain, altered pregnancy outcomes or increased blood nutrient levels compared to an under-nourished group not taking the yogurt. Ingestion of the probiotic yogurt did not cause a significant shift in the gut microbiota, consistent with previous studies. However, Bifidobacterium abundance increased in the gut of infants from mothers who consumed the yogurt. Furthermore, blood levels of mercury and arsenic were lower in these women compared to controls.