Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Biomed Sci. 2006;63(2):59-62.

Bactericidal activity of human milk: stability during storage.

Author information

Department of Food Science and Technology. Cardenal Herrera-CEU, Edificio Seminario Spain.


Human milk provides infants with defensive factors against many illnesses. This study aims to analyse global bactericidal activity in fresh human milk and evaluate its stability in relation to milk manipulation and its possible alteration following refrigeration. Nineteen milk samples (mature milk) from 19 healthy women are analysed. Viability testing involving a strain of Escherichia coli NCTC 9111, serovar O111:K58(B4):H- was used to determine the bactericidal effect of human milk. Degree of bacteriolysis is calculated as the difference between E. coli counts in controls and in milk samples, expressed as a percentage of the control sample counts. An evaluation of the effect of refrigeration at 4-6 degrees C after 24, 48 and 72 hours, and at -20 degrees C for seven days on bactericidal capacity is made. Bactericidal activity was detected in all milk samples analysed (77.33 +/- 15.14%). This activity persisted after refrigeration for 48 hours and after freezing for 10 days, but showed a significant decrease after refrigeration for 72 hours. In conclusion, maternal milk has bactericidal capacity, providing defence and protection against infection for newborn infants. This property can be altered during the storage of milk. Consequently, if storage in excess of 48 hours is required, freezing is preferable to refrigeration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center