Centrifugation does not remove bacteria from the fat fraction of human milk

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Analysis of the human milk microbiome is complicated by the presence of a variable quantity of fat. The fat fraction of human milk is typically discarded prior to analysis. It is assumed that all cells are pelleted out of human milk by high speed centrifugation; however, studies of bovine milk have reported that bacteria may remain trapped within the fat fraction. Here, the bacterial DNA profiles of the fat fraction and cell pellet of human milk (n = 10) were analysed. Human and bacterial DNA was consistently recovered from the fat fraction of human milk (average of 12.4% and 32.7%, respectively). Staphylococcus epidermidis was significantly more abundant in the cell pellet compared to the fat fraction (P = 0.038), and three low-abundance species (

Original languageEnglish
Article number572
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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