The most common pasteurisation method used by human milk banks is Holder pasteurisation. This involves thermal processing, which can denature important proteins and can potentially reduce the natural antimicrobial properties found in human milk. This study assesses the application of a hybrid method comprised of freeze-drying followed by low-dose gamma-irradiation for nonthermal donor human milk pasteurisation. Freeze-drying donor human milk followed by gamma-irradiation at 2 kGy was as efficient as Holder pasteurisation in the reduction of bacterial inoculants of Staphylococcus aureus (106 cfu/mL) and Salmonella typhimurium (106 cfu/mL) in growth inhibition assays. These assays also demonstrated that human milk naturally inhibits the growth of bacterial inoculants S. aureus, S. Typhimurium, and Escherichia coli. Freeze drying (without gamma-irradiation) did not significantly reduce this natural growth inhibition. By contrast, Holder pasteurisation significantly reduced the milk's natural antimicrobial effect on S. aureus growth after 6 h (-19.8% p=0.01). Freeze-dried...

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