Effect of Holder Pasteurisation on Human Milk Glycosaminoglycans

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The benefits of human milk for preterm infants are mainly the result of its nutritional characteristics and the presence of biologically active compounds. Among these compounds, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) play an emerging leading role. When mother's milk is unavailable or in short supply, pasteurised donor milk represents an important nutritional alternative. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Holder pasteurisation on the concentration of different GAGs in preterm human milk.


Milk samples collected from 9 mothers having delivered preterm were divided into 2 parts. One part of each sample was immediately frozen (−80°C), whereas the other part was pasteurised with the Holder method before being frozen at −80°C. Specific analytical procedures were applied to evaluate the amount, composition, and structure of main human milk GAGs.


No significative differences were measured between not-treated and pasteurised samples for total GAGs content, relative percentages of chondroitin sulfate and heparan sulfate, and main parameters related to galactosaminoglycans structure, even if a slight decrease of total GAGs content of ∼18% was observed in treated samples.


Our results indicate that the Holder pasteurisation does not significatively affect the concentration of the main human milk GAGs.

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