Human Milk Research

Forty years of human milk research discoveries

The work that Danone Nutricia Research has carried out in the field of Human Milk Research has inspired and driven the majority of infant milk category innovations that have supported the health of infants and mums across the world. We are proud of this heritage. Our breakthrough discoveries include:

• 1977: We continued to analyse human milk in our labs since the seventies after we became the first to improve the casein–whey ratio of our formulations since 1968, to more closely resemble the protein profile of human milk.1
• 1983: We discovered that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) are specifically distributed in form of polar and non-polar lipids and we proved that the lipid form is important for the functional benefits of LCPUFAs.2
• 1994: We became the first to describe the complex spectrum of genetic determined human milk oligosaccharides (HMOS) including newly detected long chain HMOS.3

• 2003: We discovered beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in human milk, which may further protect the infant via the promotion of a favourable microbial ecosystem.4
• 2010: We demonstrated that specific differences of HMOS quality and quantity exist over the course of breastfeeding. In addition, other research groups confirmed that the 4 different HMOS groups detected by us in 1997, have a direct effect on the individual microbiota of the infant5,6
• 2016: We discovered around 600 new proteins, making it up to more than 3500 different proteins in human milk. Herewith, we extended significantly the knowledge regarding the human milk protein composition.7

View References

Wemmer U. Meb Fortschr Med 1977;95(7):441-6.
Harzer G, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 1983;37(4), 612-21.
Stahl B, et al. Anal Biochem 1994;223(2), 218-26. .
Martin R, et al. J Pediatr 2003;143(6), 754-58.
Thurl S, et al. Br J Nutr 2010;104:1261–71.
Coppa GV, et al. JPGN. 2011.
van Herwijnen MJ, et al. Mol Cell Proteomics 2016;15(11):3412-23.