Milk Lipids: A Complex Nutrient Delivery System

J. Bruce German, Nurit Argov-Argaman, Ben J. Boyd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The evolution of lactation and the composition, structures, and functions of milk's biopolymers illustrates that the Darwinian pressure on lactation selected for gene products with considerable structural complexity and diverse functions within the digestive system. For example, complex sugar polymers - oligosaccharides - possess unique properties in guiding the growth of intestinal bacteria that are not possible by feeding their simple sugars. The proteins of milk are diverse with some exhibiting enzymatic activities towards other milk components rendering those components both more digestible but also releasing biologically active products. Thus, research into milk's biopolymers has been most enlightening when milk was investigated for the formation and disassembly of its structures and for the functions within the infant. To date however, the most complex structure in mammalian milk, the fat globule, has not been effectively examined beyond its simple composition. The globules of milk are heterogeneous in size, composition, and function. With new research tools, scientists are beginning to understand the mechanisms that control the assembly of globules in the mammary gland and the disassembly within the infant.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Milk
Subtitle of host publicationComposition, Clinical Benefits and Future Opportunities
PublisherS Karger AG
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783318063400, 9783318063417
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameNestle Nutrition Institute Workshop Series
ISSN (Print)1664-2147

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