Comparison of breast milk fatty acid composition from mothers of premature infants of three countries using novel dried milk spot technology

Chang Gao, Robert Gibson, Andrew McPhee, S Zhou, Carmel Collins, Maria Makrides, Jacqueline Miller, Liu Ge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) intake during infancy has been associated with many health benefits, and the LCPUFA intake of breastfed infants is largely dependent on the composition of breast milk. The conventional method for breast milk fatty acid profiling is complicated by the need for cold-chain transportation and storage, and the newly developed dried milk spot (DMS) technology overcomes these difficulties. This study aimed to determine the accuracy, sensitivity and applicability of the DMS method developed based on the PUFAcoat™ technology. Two hundred breast milk samples were analyzed using the conventional method and compared with the DMS method. In order to evaluate the usefulness of DMS for large scale international studies, we analyzed another 786 breast milk samples collected from mothers of preterm infants who participated in a large clinical trial conducted in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Fatty acids were measured using capillary gas chromatography and results were reported as weight percentage of total fatty acids. Strong correlations and tight variation were observed in total saturated, monounsaturated, n-6 and n-3 PUFAs between the conventional and DMS methods. The DMS method proved to be sensitive in differentiating the breast milk fatty acid profiles of women consuming different habitual diets as evidenced by the differences between the breast milk fatty acid composition between Australian and Singaporean population. This study demonstrates that the DMS and the conventional method provide interchangeable results, and the DMS method is a particularly useful tool for large-scale studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Analytical method comparison
  • Breast milk lipids
  • Dried milk spot
  • Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids


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