Inoculation of mother’s own milk could personalize pasteurized donor human milk used for feeding preterm infants

D. Mallardi, C. Tabasso, P. Piemontese, S. Morandi, T. Silvetti, F. Biscarini, P. Cremonesi, B. Castiglioni, V. Pica, M. Stuknyte, I. De Noni, O. Amato, N. Liotto, F. Mosca, P. Roggero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Human milk is a vehicle for bioactive compounds and beneficial bacteria which promote the establishment of a healthy gut microbiome of newborns, especially of preterm infants. Pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) is the second-best option when preterm mother’s own milk is unavailable. Since pasteurization affect the microbiological quality of donor milk, PDHM was inoculated with different preterm milk samples and then incubated, in order to evaluate the effect in terms of bacterial growth, human milk microbiome and proteolytic phenomena. Methods: In an in-vitro study PDHM was inoculated at 10% v/v using ten preterm milk samples. Microbiological, metataxonomic and peptidomic analyses, on preterm milk samples at the baseline (T0), on PDHM and on inoculated milk (IM) samples at T0, after 2 h (T1) and 4 h (T2) of incubation at 37 °C, were conducted. Results: IM samples at T2 showed a Total Bacterial Count not significantly different (p > 0.01) compared to preterm milk samples. At T2 lactic acid bacteria level was restored in all IM. After inoculation, metataxonomic analysis in IM samples showed that Proteobacteria remained the predominant phylum while Firmicutes moved from 3% at T1 to 9.4% at T2. Peptidomic profile of IM resembled that of PDHM, incubated for the same time, in terms of number and type of peptides. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that inoculation of PDHM with mother’s own milk could restore bacterial growth and personalize human milk microbiome in PDHM. This effect could be beneficial because of the presence of maternal probiotic bacteria which make PDHM more similar to mother’s own milk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number420
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Bacterial growth
  • Donor human milk
  • Human milk microbiome
  • Mother’s own milk
  • Peptidomic profile
  • Preterm infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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