Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Probing changes to infant milk formulations

Date:
January 22, 2014
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
A chip-based detection system for minor functional proteins in infant milk formula could assist quality-control testing.

Infant milk formula is an alternative to breast milk for babies in their first year of life. Since breast milk contains all the nutrients required by young infants, formula manufacturers aim to closely match their product's ingredients to those of breast milk.

"Functional proteins in human milk are essential for key biological functions such as immune system development," explains Ruige Wu from the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology. "However, some of these proteins are not found, or are present at lower concentrations, in infant formula products compared to human milk."

Recently, some manufacturers began advertising that their products contained elevated levels of functional proteins, such as α-lactalbumin and immunoglobulin G. "The ability to measure these functional proteins is very important to control and monitor the quality of infant formula products," explains Wu. "Supplementation of formula products is expected to be regulated shortly."

Regulation of these products requires an easy and inexpensive quantitative method to detect low levels of functional proteins in milk, which also contains abundant other proteins. However, Wu explains that existing techniques, based on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), use expensive equipment and time-consuming methods, with pretreatment alone taking several hours. She and her co-workers have now developed a microchip capillary-electrophoresis (CE)-based method that is cheaper, has a shorter assay time and eliminates the need for pretreatment.

Wu's team fabricated a custom-made, microfluidic-chip CE device. The device separates the functional proteins from other, more abundant proteins in the formula using isoelectric focusing. In this process, the proteins move through a gel with a pH gradient, and the point at which they stop on the gel depends on their charge. Since each protein has a slightly different charge, separation occurs. This takes just two minutes.

"The functional proteins are then transferred into the embedded capillary for further separation according to their mass-to-charge ratio," explains Wu. This capillary zone electrophoresis separation step takes 18 minutes. The team then identified and measured the amount of protein present -- while still on the CE column -- using ultraviolet detection. "The concentrations of functional proteins are determined from the respective absorbance values and calibration curves," she says.

The reliability of the device was tested with infant milk formula samples spiked with known amounts of various functional proteins. "Results close to 100 per cent recovery were obtained," says Wu.

"Our next steps are to collaborate with industry partners in the manufacturing, or quality-control testing, of infant formula or similar protein rich products," she says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ruige Wu, Zhiping Wang, Wenfeng Zhao, William Shu-Biu Yeung, Ying Sing Fung. Multi-dimension microchip-capillary electrophoresis device for determination of functional proteins in infant milk formula. Journal of Chromatography A, 2013; 1304: 220 DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2013.06.073

Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Probing changes to infant milk formulations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122092443.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2014, January 22). Probing changes to infant milk formulations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122092443.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Probing changes to infant milk formulations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122092443.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins