Donor Human Milk preservation

Alternative methods of pasteurization for human milk preservation.

Breast milk is considered to be the best form of nutrition for infants and neonates. When mother’s own milk is unavailable or insufficient, donor human milk represents the best alternative. Before it can be safely stored in a freezer until use, donor milk needs to be processed, currently by holder pasteurization. However, this method raises some important questions regarding the effects of storage, handling and heat processing on the unique milk components. High-Temperature-Short-time (HTST), High Pressure Processing (HPP), (thermo-)ultrasonic processing, Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF), and Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation have been proposed as alternatives but further research is needed to demonstrate their efficiency.

The aim of this study is to investigate the results of these methods in maximizing the retention of important donor milk biological factors while ensuring microbial safety.

Alternative methods will be implemented in a lab setting and their results in increasing bioactive component retention while ensuring microbial inactivation in donor milk, will be assessed. For this purpose, human milk samples will be provided by the Dutch human milk bank.

1. Peila, C. et al., 2017. Human milk processing: a systematic review of innovative techniques to ensure the safety and quality of donor milk. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 64(3), pp.353-361.
2. Hettinga, K. et al., 2011. The host defense proteome of human and bovine milk. PloS one, 6(4), p.e19433.
3. Corpeleijn, W.E. et al., 2010. Human Milk Banking–Facts and Issues to Resolve. Nutrients, 2(7), pp.762-769.