Vitamin content of breast milk from HIV-1-infected mothers before and after flash-heat treatment

Kiersten A. Israel-Ballard, Barbara F. Abrams, Anna Coutsoudis, Lindiwe N. Sibeko, Lynn A. Cheryk, Caroline J Chantry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: World Health Organization advocates heat treatment of expressed breastmilk (EBM) as one method to reduce postnatal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in developing countries. Flash-heat is a simple heat treatment method shown to inactivate cell-free HIV. OBJECTIVE:: To determine the effect of flash-heat on vitamin content of milk. METHODS:: Fresh EBM was collected from 50 HIV+ mothers in Durban, South Africa. Mothers washed their hands and then manually expressed 75-150 mL EBM into sterile jars. Milk was aliquoted to unheated controls or flash-heat (50 mL EBM in a glass jar heated in a 450-mL water jacket in an aluminum pan until water boiled, then EBM removed) simulating field conditions with an open flame. Samples were stored at -70°C and then analyzed for the effect of flash-heat on vitamins [A, ascorbic acid, riboflavin (B2), pyridoxal-5-phosphate (B6), folate, and B12]. RESULTS:: Vitamin A was not significantly affected by flash-heat and vitamins B12 and C and folate increased significantly. Vitamins B2 and B6 were decreased to 59% (95% confidence interval 44 to 81) and 96% (95% confidence interval 92 to 99), respectively, of that found in unheated milk. CONCLUSIONS:: The percentage remaining after flash-heat suggests that most vitamin concentrations are retained after heating. Flash-heat may be a practical and nutritious infant feeding method for mothers in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-449
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


  • Breastmilk
  • Flashheat
  • Heat treatment
  • HIV
  • Pasteurization
  • Prevention of mother-to-child transmission
  • Vitamins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Immunology


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