Casein and casein subunits in preterm milk, colostrum, and mature human milk

C. Kunz, B. Lonnerdal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Human milk proteins have both nutritional and physiological roles for the breast-fed infant. While the biochemistry and developmental patterns for many whey proteins are well known, our knowledge of human casein and its subunits is still limited. We have recently developed a method to isolate casein from whey proteins in human milk and to separate the casein subunits by fast protein liquid chromatography. In this study we have applied this methodology to study the casein subunit pattern in preterm milk, colostrum, and mature milk. Casein concentration increased with lactation time, largely due to an increase in glycosylated forms of casein (κ-caseins). Thus, the relative proportion of β-casein to κ-casein decreased during the lactation period. The patterns of phosphorylated and glycosylated casein subunits were found to vary during lactation, showing that both synthesis and posttranslational modification of β- and κ-casein are regulated by different mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-461
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


  • casein
  • casein subunits
  • colostrum
  • human milk
  • mature milk
  • preterm milk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Histology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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