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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;58(8):1119-24.

Fatty-acid composition of the colostrum and serum of fullterm and preterm delivering Iraqi mothers.

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Ninevah Medical College, University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq.



To determine the lipid components of colostrum and the fatty-acid (FA) composition of the colostrum and serum of Iraqi mothers, whether their delivery be fullterm (FT) or preterm (PT).


A collection of colostrum and serum samples of FT and PT delivering Iraqi mothers.


Mosul province (in the north of Iraq).


Colostrum and blood samples were obtained from FT and PT delivering mothers; their gestation periods were 39.2 and 32.7 weeks, respectively (age 20-40 y).


Colostrum and serum samples were collected from each lactating mother. The nursing period was 3-5 days. The lipid components of colostrum, namely triglycerides (TGs) and cholesterol (C), were determined enzymatically and the phospholipids (PLs) were determined by using a colorimetric method based on the formation of a phosphomolybdate complex. The FA composition of colostrum and serum was determined by capillary gas chromatography.


Compared to PT colostrum, FT colostrum exhibited a significant increase in lipid content, viz. TGs (P=0.022); a significant decrease in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), viz. C12 and C14 (P=0.03 and 0.005, respectively); no significant differences in monounsaturated fatty acids and a significant increase in C20:5 n3 and C22:6 n3 (P=0.001 and 0.05, respectively) and a slight increase in the level of n3/n6. The FA composition of the mother serum was found to mimic that of their colostrum, except for the level of MCFAs which was higher in the colostrum.


The lipid content, the percentage of C22:6 n3 (the most important FA) and the level of n3/n6 in PT colostrum were lower than those in FT colostrum. They may be affected by serum lipid and immaturity of the mammary gland. Generally, the level of n3/n6 for both groups (0.09 and 0.08) is lower than that recommended by WHO (0.1) for infants' optimum nutrition. The difference in the level of MCFAs between the mother serum and colostrum reflects their de novo synthesis in the mammary gland.


Supported by Grants from Department of Chemistry, College of Education, University of Mosul. The analysis of fatty acid-methyl ester samples was performed at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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