February 03, 2020
For many years researchers have been investigating the role of milk composition on infant health. It is known that milk composition changes over time in nursing mothers, which is one of the reasons why creating high quality baby formula is so complicated. However, it is not just humans who would benefit from a better understanding of milk composition.
A collaboration between San Diego Zoo and the University of California San Diego Medical School of Medicine are hoping to find out more about the milk of elephants. Nursing elephant mothers at the zoo have allowed researchers to collect almost 100 milk samples to date. These samples are then sent for analysis in the laboratory where researchers have been investigating the composition of the milk over time.
The collaborative team has been able to learn more about the milk fat composition, the microbiome as well as the small-molecule chemicals within the samples (known as the metabolome). This information may one day lead to the development of improved formula for both humans and orphaned animals in need to nourishment. Further investigation in other types of milk may also lead to the discovery of compounds that can be used to treat illnesses.
Source: Phys Org
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