Effect of Holder pasteurization and UV-C irradiation on bacteriophage titres in human milk

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Abstract

Human milk is the optimal nutrition source for infants and contains a complex mix of bioactive compounds and microorganisms. When unavailable, pasteurised donor milk may be provided, particularly to preterm infants. Holder pasteurisation (HP) is typically implemented in human milk banks to prevent pathogen transmission. Given the impact of heat on milk bioactives, ultraviolet-C irradiation (UV-C) is an alternative being explored and has demonstrated effective bactericidal activity. In addition to bacteria, milk contains viruses including primarily bacteriophages (phages) and which likely influence the developing bacterial microbiome of infants. However, the effect of pasteurisation on human milk phages is unknown. This study assessed the effect of HP and UV-C on titres of exogenous bacteriophages inoculated into human milk. Ten donor human milk samples were tested in parallel with water controls. Milk samples or water controls were inoculated to a final concentration of 1 × 104 PFU/mL (±1 log) each of a thermotolerant Escherichia coli phage (T4) and a thermosensitive Staphylococcus aureus phage (BYJ20) and subjected to HP and UV-C treatments. UV-C inactivated both phages within milk and water controls, however, HP was ineffective against the thermotolerant T4 phages. Initial data suggests that UV-C treatment may eliminate phage with potential to affect preterm infant gut colonization. Further studies should extend this to other phages.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfnad057
JournalFEMS Microbiology Reviews
Volume370
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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