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J Hum Lact. 2001 May;17(2):152-5.

Donor milk: what's in it and what's not.

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Department of Biology and Health Sciences, Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.


Breastfeeding and human milk are widely recognized as optimal for human infants. However, if donor milk is used when mother's own milk is not available, some questions arise concerning the effects of storage, handling, and heat processing on the unique components of human milk. Holder pasteurization (62.5 degrees C for 30 minutes) of banked human milk is the method of choice to eliminate potential viral contaminants such as human immunodeficiency virus, human T-lymphoma virus, and cytomegalovirus, as well as tuberculosis and other bacterial contaminants, while maintaining the greatest possible complement of its unique bioactive factors. This article reviews some of the critical components of human milk and what is currently known about the effects of Holder pasteurization on their biological activity.

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