Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in US donor human milk: Meeting the needs of premature infants

M. L. Baack, A. W. Norris, J. Yao, T. Colaizy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Objective:To determine fatty acid levels in the US donor milk supply.Study Design:Donor human milk samples from Iowa (n=62), Texas (n=5), North Carolina (n=5) and California (n=5) were analyzed by gas chromatography. Levels in the Iowa donor milk were compared before and after pasteurization using Student's t-test. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) levels were compared among all milk banks using analysis of variance.Result:ARA (0.4 pre, 0.4 post, P=0.18) and DHA (0.073 pre, 0.073 post, P=0.84) were not affected by pasteurization. DHA varied between banks (P=0.0001), whereas ARA did not (P=0.3). DHA levels from all banks were lower than published values for maternal milk and infant formula (P=0.0001).Conclusion:Pasteurization of breastmilk does not affect DHA or ARA levels. However, DHA content in US donor milk varies with bank location and may not meet the recommended provision for preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-603
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2012



  • arachidonic acid
  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • donor human milk
  • long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • neonatal nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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