2017 journal article

Bacteria and Bioactivity in Holder Pasteurized and Shelf-Stable Human Milk Products


By: H. Lima n, M. Wagner-Gillespie n, M. Perrin n & A. Fogleman n

co-author countries: United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: heat processing; infant nutrition; donor human milk; commercial sterilization; shelf-stable human milk
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 6, 2018

Background: Historically, Holder pasteurization has been used to pasteurize donor human milk available in a hospital setting. There is extensive research that provides an overview of the impact of Holder pasteurization on bioactive components of human milk. A shelf-stable (SS) human milk product, created using retort processing, recently became available; however, to our knowledge, little has been published about the effect of retort processing on human milk. Objective: We aimed to assess the ability of retort processing to eliminate bacteria and to quantify the difference in lysozyme and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) activity between Holder pasteurized (HP) and SS human milk. Methods: Milk samples from 60 mothers were pooled. From this pool, 36 samples were taken: 12 samples were kept raw, 12 samples were HP, and 12 samples were retort processed to create an SS product. All samples were analyzed for total aerobic bacteria, coliform bacteria, Bacillus cereus, sIgA activity, and lysozyme activity. Raw samples served as the control. Results: One raw sample and 3 HP samples contained B. cereus at the time of culture. There were no detectable bacteria in SS samples at the time of culture. Raw samples had significantly greater lysozyme and sIgA activity than HP and SS samples (P < 0.0001). HP samples retained significantly more lysozyme and sIgA activity (54% and 87%, respectively) than SS samples (0% and 11%, respectively). Conclusions: Human milk processed using Holder pasteurization should continue to be screened for the presence of B. cereus. Clinicians should be aware of the differences in the retention of lysozyme and sIgA activity in HP and SS products when making feeding decisions for medically fragile or immunocompromised infants to ensure that patients are receiving the maximum immune protection.