Effect of evaporation and pasteurization in the biochemical and immunological composition of human milk

Lucylea P. M. Braga, Durval B. Palhares

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2007;83(1):59-63


Studies have shown that nutrients in human milk do not provide sufficient amounts of protein, sodium, phosphate and calcium to sustain the proper growth of these preterm infants. This has encouraged the development of new nutritional options for these infants, especially using human milk as a way to maintain their biological value.

Dialysis and ultrafiltration have been used as fractioning method and later fortification of human milk; however, these methods are complex and require sophisticated and costly equipment.

Evaporation of human milk consists in removing some amount of water, thus increasing its concentration. Santos, in 1994, used the evaporation technique and, later, precipitation and removal of lactose, to use the end product as human milk additive.

Human milk is stored in milk banks after pasteurization, which consists of thermal treatment and quick cooling of expressed human milk, in order to inactivate 100% of pathogenic microorganisms and 99.9% of the saprophytic microbiota.

Given the importance of maintaining the properties of human milk in the nutrition of preterm infants, the aim of the present study was to assess the effects of pasteurization and evaporation of human milk on its biochemical and immunological properties and on its osmolarity. Moreover, it aimed to assess whether evaporation at 30% of its water could make milk meet the nutritional requirements of very-low-birth weight infants.

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