Evaluation of the changes in human milk lipid composition and conformational state with Raman spectroscopy during a breastfeed

Johanna R. de Wolf*, Anki Lenferink, Aufried Lenferink, Cees Otto, Nienke Bosschaart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Human milk fat forms the main energy source for breastfed infants, and is highly variable in terms of concentration and composition. Understanding the changes in human milk lipid composition and conformational state during a breastfeed can provide insight into lipid synthesis and secretion in the mammary gland. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate human milk fatty acid length, degree of unsaturation (lipid composition) and lipid phase (lipid conformational state) at different stages during a single breastfeed (fore-, bulk- and hindmilk). A total of 48 samples from 16 lactating subjects were investigated with confocal Raman spectroscopy. We did not observe any significant changes in lipid composition between fore-, bulk and hindmilk. A new finding from this study is that lipid conformational state at room temperature changed significantly during a breastfeed, from almost crystalline to almost liquid. This observation suggests that lipid synthesis in the mammary gland changes during a single breastfeed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3934-3947
Number of pages14
JournalBiomedical optics express
Volume12
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

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