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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(6):1043-60. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2012.753402.

Human Milk Composition and Preservation: Evaluation of High-pressure Processing as a Nonthermal Pasteurization Technology.

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a QOPNA, Departamento de Química , Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago , Portugal.


Human milk is seen not only as a food, but as a functional and dynamic biologic system. It provides nutrients, bioactive components, and immune factors, promoting adequate and healthy growth of newborn infants. When mothers cannot supply their children, donated breast milk is the nutrition recommended by the World Health Organization, as it is a better alternative than infant formula. However, because of the manner in which donor milk is handled in human milk banks (HMB) many of the properties ascribed to mother's own milk are diminished or destroyed. The major process responsible for these losses is Holder pasteurization. High-pressure processing (HPP) is a novel nonthermal pasteurization technology that is being increasingly applied in food industries worldwide, primarily as an alternative to thermal treatment. This is due to its capacity to inactivate microorganisms while preserving both nutritional and bioactive components of foods. This review describes human milk composition and preservation, and critically discusses HMB importance and practices, highlighting HPP as a potential nonthermal pasteurization technology for human milk preservation. HPP technology is described and the few currently existing studies of its effects in human milk are presented.


Human milk composition; high-pressure processing; milk banks; pasteurization

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