Milk lactoferrin concentration of primiparous and multiparous sows during lactation

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Lactoferrin (LF), a sialylated iron-binding glycoprotein, has numerous vital physiological functions including immunomodulation and protection against a large group of microorganisms, improving neurodevelopment,health, growth performance, and milk production. Lactoferrinoccurs in human milk at a higher concentration compared with bovine milk, but little information is available on LF concentrations in porcine milk and the effects of sow parity on milk LF concentration. The objective of this study was to quantify the LF concentration in porcine milk and to compare that concentration between gilts and sows during lactation. Wealso investigated the effect of genetic background and litter size of the female pig on the LF concentration of porcine milk. The milk from 30 gilts and 35 sows was collected at 3 stages of lactation, namely colostrum, transition, and mature milk. Standard and experimental samples were analyzed by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography using a diode array UV detector.The following findings were reported: (1) porcine milk contained significant levels of LF with the highest concentration in colostrum, which decreased by ~62% and~67% in transitional and mature milk, respectively; (2)mature gilt milk contained a 22% higher concentration of LF compared with sow milk, which was statistically significant; (3) breed line had an overall significant effect on the LF content of porcine milk; however, when the breed was considered, no significant difference was observed; and (4) LF concentration of porcine milk was not significantly influenced by the litter size. The presence of LF in a higher concentration in porcine milk suggests that LF is an important constituent of pig milk that might contribute to the optimum growth and development of piglets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7521-7530
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number8
Early online date21 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2020


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