The Effect of Pasteurization on the Antioxidant Properties of Human Milk: A Literature Review

H.G. Juncker, E.J.M. Ruhé, G.L. Burchell, C.H.P. van den Akker, A. Korosi, J.B. van Goudoever, B.J. van Keulen

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


High rates of oxidative stress are common in preterm born infants and have short- and long-term consequences. The antioxidant properties of human milk limits the consequences of excessive oxidative damage. However, as the mother's own milk it is not always available, donor milk may be provided as the best alternative. Donor milk needs to be pasteurized before use to ensure safety. Although pasteurization is necessary for safety reasons, it may affect the activity and concentration of several biological factors, including antioxidants. This literature review describes the effect of different pasteurization methods on antioxidant properties of human milk and aims to provide evidence to guide donor milk banks in choosing the best pasteurization method from an antioxidant perspective. The current literature suggests that Holder pasteurization reduces the antioxidant properties of human milk. Alternative pasteurization methods seem promising as less reduction is observed in several studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1737
Number of pages13
JournalAntioxidants (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number11
Early online date29 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Antioxidant capacity
  • Breastmilk
  • Donor milk
  • Holder pasteurization
  • Oxidative stress
  • Preterm
  • Treatment

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