Human Milk Fatty Acid Composition: Comparison of Novel Dried Milk Spot Versus Standard Liquid Extraction Methods

Michael C. Rudolph, Bridget E. Young, Kristina Harris Jackson, Nancy F. Krebs, William S. Harris, Paul S. MacLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Accurate assessment of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) content of human milk (HM) provides a powerful means to evaluate the FA nutrient status of breastfed infants. The conventional standard for FA composition analysis of HM is liquid extraction, trans-methylation, and analyte detection resolved by gas chromatography. This standard approach requires fresh or frozen samples, storage in deep freeze, organic solvents, and specialized equipment in processing and analysis. Further, HM collection is often impractical for many studies in the free living environment, particularly for studies in developing countries. In the present study, we compare a novel and more practical approach to sample collection and processing that involves the spotting and drying ~50 μL of HM on a specialized paper stored and transported at ambient temperatures until analysis. Deming regression indicated the two methods aligned very well for all LC-PUFA and the abundant HM FA. Additionally, strong correlations (r > 0.85) were observed for DHA, ARA, EPA, linoleic (LA), and alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), which are of particular interest to the health of the developing infant. Taken together, our data suggest this more practical and inexpensive method of collection, storage, and transport of HM milk samples could dramatically facilitate studies of HM, as well as understanding its lipid composition influences on human health and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Fatty acid composition
  • Human milk
  • Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Omega-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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