Manganese binding proteins in human and cow's milk

B. Lonnerdal, Carl L Keen, L. S. Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Manganese nutrition in the neonatal period is poorly understood, due in part to a lack of information on the amount of manganese in infant foods and its bioavailability. Since the molecular localization of an element in foods is one determinant of its subsequent bioavailability, we have studied the binding of manganese in human and cow's milk. An extrinsic label of 54Mn was shown to equilibrate isotopically with native manganese in milks and formulas. Milk samples were separated into fat, casein and whey by ultracentrifugation. In human milk, the major part (71%) of manganese was found in whey, 11% in casein and 18% in the lipid fraction. In contrast, in cow's milk, 32% of total manganese was in whey, 67% in casein and 1% in lipid. Within the human whey fraction, most of the manganese was bound to lactoferrin, while in cow's whey, manganese was mostly complexed to ligands with molecular weights less than 200. The distribution of manganese in formulas was closer to that of human milk than of cow's milk. The bioavailability of manganese associated with lactoferrin, casein and low molecular weight complexes needs to be assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-559
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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