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Glycobiology. 2013 Jun;23(6):664-76. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwt007. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Annotation and structural elucidation of bovine milk oligosaccharides and determination of novel fucosylated structures.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Bovine milk oligosaccharides (BMOs) are recognized by the dairy and food industries, as well as by infant formula manufacturers, as novel, high-potential bioactive food ingredients. Recent studies revealed that bovine milk contains complex oligosaccharides structurally related to those previously thought to be present in only human milk. These BMOs are microbiotic modulators involved in important biological activities, including preventing pathogen binding to the intestinal epithelium and serving as nutrients for a selected class of beneficial bacteria. Only a small number of BMO structures are fully elucidated. To better understand the potential of BMOs as a class of biotherapeutics, their detailed structure analysis is needed. This study initiated the development of a structure library of BMOs and a comprehensive evaluation of structure-related specificity. The bovine milk glycome was profiled by high-performance mass spectrometry and advanced separation techniques to obtain a comprehensive catalog of BMOs, including several novel, lower abundant neutral and fucosylated oligosaccharides that are often overlooked during analysis. Structures were identified using isomer-specific tandem mass spectroscopy and targeted exoglycosidase digestions to produce a BMO library detailing retention time, accurate mass and structure to allow their rapid identification in future studies.


bovine colostrum; high-performance liquid chromatography; oligosaccharides; tandem mass spectrometry

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