SPLASH!® milk science update: December 2018 Issue

This month’s issue features the IMGC Symposium and lactoferrin and chemotherapy.

“Before I Came Here, I Didn’t Know That”: Highlights From the 15th IMGC Symposium

This year marked the 15th annual IMGC International Symposium, held in downtown Sacramento, California, November 13–15. In spite of noticeable haze outside from the nearby wildfires, researchers, graduate students, and scholars from around the world found community and collaboration inside the beautiful conference center. Twenty-six presentations and 25 posters were complemented by panel discussions, luncheons, and a group dinner and tour of the Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings. As in years past, the symposium offered both seasoned and novice researchers a dynamic forum for exploring the innovations and implications of milk science research. Here are some of this year’s highlights. Read More...

Lactoferrin Makes Food Taste Better for Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy

Lactoferrin Makes Food Taste Better for Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy

Iron is central to survival. As part of haemoglobin, it carries oxygen around the body. But excess levels have been linked to the development of cancer and to various sensory disorders. When a cancer patient embarks on a course of chemotherapy, he often develops a persistent metallic taste in his mouth that is thought to be caused by iron in his saliva. Realizing this, a team of researchers from Virginia Tech decided to test whether giving chemotherapy patients a substance that mops up free iron, which is naturally present in human tears, milk, bile and saliva, might bring back the patients’ normal sense of taste. Although their study is small, they report remarkable success. Read More...

Family Trio Sings for Genomic Supper

Solving a giant crossword puzzle and completely sequencing a genome have a lot in common, including despair and satisfaction. The puzzle just requires the assembly of all components into the one correct pattern. The first 90% is fast and furious. One’s confidence grows as the unique solution becomes tantalizingly close. Satisfaction seemingly guaranteed. But then, the last 10% rears its ugly head and frustratingly devours time and confidence. “I can’t get no satisfaction”—the plaintive words of Mick Jagger mercilessly resonant. The stark realization is depressing. Most of the puzzle is correct, but there must be an error somewhere. But it’s hard to go back. The inevitable outcome is to accept something that is mainly correct and move on—“you can’t always get what you want.” However, all is not lost. Koren and nine colleagues recently developed a very smart solution for completing the genomic puzzle with much lower error rates. They used a genomic trio of mom, dad, and one offspring for maximal effect and then tested their method in three species. The results were impressive, particularly for the cow. Read More...

Looks Can Be Deceiving: Similar Gut Bacteria Have Different Functions in Breast-Fed and Formula-Fed Infants

Infant formula manufacturers are faced with an extremely difficult task: they must transform cow or plant-based milks into a liquid that mimics human milk. This mimicry involves more than just copying human milk’s ingredient list, however. Formula must also match human milk in performance, an especially difficult endeavor when considering many components are highly complex and specific to human milk. Read More...