Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin production in raw, holder-pasteurized, and ultraviolet-c-treated donated human milk

Yahya Ahmad Y Almutawif, Benjamin Hartmann, Megan Lloyd, Ching Lai, Alethea Rea, Donna Geddes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Some strains of Staphylococcus aureus can produce heat-stable enterotoxins that have been associated with gastritis and potentially necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants.

To assess the impact of different storage temperatures on S. aureus growth and enterotoxin production in raw, Holder-pasteurized (HP) and ultraviolet-C (UV-C)-treated donated human milk (DHM).

The milk samples from individual donors were pooled and divided into four equal portions. One portion was HP, the second was UV-C treated, the third was not treated, and the fourth was UV-C treated after being spiked with S. aureus. All samples were incubated at 37°C (18 hours) and 4°C (14 days). Bacterial colony count, enterotoxin A and B, and immune proteins were quantified.

At 37°C, the colony count increased in HP DHM and decreased in raw and UV-C-treated DHM. At 4°C, colony counts in HP DHM reduced and were not detected in raw and UV-C-treated DHM from day 8 of incubation. No bacteria were detected in samples that were inoculated before UV-C treatment. Enterotoxin A was only detected in HP-DHM at 37°C from the 9th hour onward. Enterotoxin B was detected in one sample at the 15th hour. Immune protein concentrations were similar in raw and UV-C DHM, and were reduced in the HP DHM.

UV-C-treated milk reduces S. aureus growth with similar kinetics to raw milk making it a promising emerging technique to eliminate bacteria while retaining essential immune proteins in DHM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-270
Number of pages9
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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