The Role of Milk-Derived Antimicrobial Lipids as Antiviral and Antibacterial Agents

  • Charles E. Isaacs
  • Halldor Thormar
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 310)


Milk lipids are not only nutrients but also non-immunoglobulin protective factors1–3. The lipids in human milk do not initially have antimicrobial activity, but become antiviral2, antibacteria14,5 and antiprotozoal6 in vitro following storage and in vivo following digestion in the gastrointestinal tract of the milk-fed infant2,5,7. Microbial killing by milk lipids is due primarily to free fatty acids (FFAs) and monoglycerides (MGs) released from milk triglycerides by lipases and can be duplicated using purified FFAs and MGs8,9.


Antiviral Activity Milk Sample Human Milk Stomach Content Envelop Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles E. Isaacs
    • 1
  • Halldor Thormar
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Developmental BiochemistryInstitute for Basic ResearchStaten IslandUSA
  2. 2.Institute of BiologyUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland

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