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Funny Tasting Milk: The Biochemistry and Clinical Applications of Human Milk Oxidation vs. High Lipase Action

by Nicola Singletary, PhD, MAT, IBCLC
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP
  • Handout: Yes

Some breastfeeding parents find that their stored milk tastes sour or rancid, and sometimes this milk is refused by their baby. These flavors and odors are often described as metallic, fishy, rancid, sweaty or soapy. But what exactly causes these ‘off’ flavors and what can be done about milk that is refused? Is the solution always to scald milk? Milk with high lipase action leads to milk with increased levels of free fatty acids during storage that can produce rancid and sweaty flavors. Enzymes such as lipase can be inactivated by heating prior to milk storage. Milk with high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids is susceptible to fat oxidation during storage leading to fishy and metallic flavors. Storage recommendations to reduce oxidation of fatty acids in milk include using short storage times, thawing at cold temperatures, and avoiding light exposure during storage. Case studies of both oxidized milk and high lipase action will be presented along with possible solutions.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Describe the biochemical processes involved in human milk oxidation and high lipase action;

Objective 2: Differentiate between milk that is rancid due to oxidation and milk with high lipase action; and

Objective 3: Choose strategies to help mothers with sour or rancid milk reduce the impact of oxidation or lipase action on their stored milk.

Presentations: 1  |  Hours / CE Credits: 1  |  Viewing Time: 2 Weeks
Presentations: 29  |  Hours / CE Credits: 27.0  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks