Human milk antibacterial factors: the effect of temperature on defense systems

Chen HY, Allen JC.

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2001;501:341-8.

Bovine milk will eventually spoil at refrigeration temperatures, but endogenous or exogenous pathogenic or spoilage bacteria in human milk stored for delayed feeding will die. We investigated the mechanism for these antibacterial properties and their response to high-tempertature, short-time (HTST, 72 degrees C-75 degrees C, 15 sec) and low-temperature long-time (LTLT, 65 degrees C, 30 min) pasteurization.

Nonpathogenic Listeria innocua (10(6) cfu/mL) was inoculated into raw and processed bovine and human milk; bacterial plate counts twice weekly determined antibacterial activities. Up to 99% of L. innocua were killed and further growth was inhibited in raw and pasteurized human milk for at least 60 days at 4 degrees C. Reactive IgA antibodies against Listeria antigens were demonstrated by enzyme immunoassay in some human milk samples; sIgA activity against Escherichia coli O antigens was significantly decreased by heat treatments (raw, 1.8; HTST, 1.1; LTLT, 1.3 activity units). Adding human lactoferrin (0.5-20 mg/mL) to the Listeria inoculum (approximately 10(7) cfu/mL) in 1% peptone water did not inhibit bacterial growth.

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