In vitro antifungal effect of human milk

Emin Mete, M.D., Nüket Bavbek, M.D., Sabriye Dayi, M.D., Mehtap Erkmen, M.D., and
Fatih Andiran, M.D.

Allergy Asthma Proc 27:412–414


A lower incidence of infection occurs among breast-fed babies because of the presence of antibacterial, antiviral, and antiparasitic effects, but little is known about the antifungal effects to fungi other than Candida albicans. This study was undertaken to assess the antifungal effect of human milk to the fungi in the environmental air, which also may be allergenic.
Milk samples were obtained from lactating mothers of healthy term infants between the 3rd and 8th days of lactation. Ninety-six Sabouraud agar petri dishes were separated into three groups, closed, and incubated in the same location after 15 minutes uncovered. The first group (group 1, n=48 dishes) was used to detect the fungal flora of the environmental air. The second group (group 2, n=24 dishes) was rubbed with a thin layer of human milk by a sterile pipette. The last group (group 3, n=24 dishes) was rubbed with 0.9% NaCIlsolution. After 7 days of incubation, the colony-forming fungal growths of all dishes were evaluated by a microbiologist who did not know the groups of the dishes. The number offungal colonies grown in human milk-rubbed dishes in group 2 was less than both of the other groups (group 1 and 3; p < 0.001 and p < 0.001, respectively). These results indicated that human milk may have antifungal effects to fungi present in the environmental air as tested by Sabouraud agar petri dishes. To prevent infections and allergic diseases, human milk must be considered the ideal food for newborns.

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