Danish research: UV-treated milk could boost prematurely born babies

New study on pigs has shown promising results

A new research project from the University of Copenhagen (KU) has revealed that prematurely born children could be strengthened by ingesting UV-treated milk.

The findings, which showed promising results in pigs, could pave the way for a study on children and perhaps a change in practice in Denmark.

“It is known that UV treatment can better preserve the quality of milk proteins, but this study is the first which shows a beneficial physiological effect in prematurely-born individuals,” said Per Torp Sangild, a professor at the Department for Veterinary and Animal Sciences who conducted the project.

“The study is important because pigs are usually good indicators for human children, as their anatomy and development in birth-related situations are similar. We expect to find similar results for children, so perhaps we need to rethink how we treat milk for kids.”

READ MORE: Overweight mothers can ‘infect’ children with tendency to obesity, Danish research indicates

Closer to the real thing
Because prematurely-born children are very vulnerable, breast milk is essential when it comes to their development. Unfortunately, the production of breast milk is often delayed following a premature birth, so the health services make sure that they are given donor milk from other mothers.

Due to the risk of bacterial transfer, the milk is treated with heat in a process called pasteurisation.

But the Danish research indicates that UV treatment of donor milk offers a better result for prematurely born babies that traditional heat treatment options – it is at least the case in pigs and human milk can be used to nourish pigs.

UV treatment not only kills bacteria on a par with traditional heat treatment options but it also maintains the good qualities of the milk, such as bioactive proteins, concentration, and activity of milk enzymes – something traditional treatment doesn’t.

The Danish research showed that prematurely born pigs who were given UV-treated milk fared better than those on pasteurised milk – they grew faster, developed better bowel functions and protection against bacteria.





  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.