subject: antimicrobial peptides

Tasmanian Devil Milk Provides Powerful Antibacterial Proteins

Tasmanian Devil Milk Provides Powerful Antibacterial Proteins

The Tasmanian devil is best known for being a swirling, growling, trouble-making cartoon character. But the marsupial mammal's reputation is about to get a complete makeover, thanks to new research on the function of proteins secreted in their milk and their skin. Read More...

Kefir Consumption—a Growing Culture

Kefir Consumption—a Growing Culture

Kefir, an ancient cultured dairy drink touted as a health-promoting probiotic, is coming back into fashion in Europe and gaining popularity in the US. With its fizzy freshness and mildly acidic flavor, kefir (pronounced “keh-FEAR”) likely owes its name to a similar Turkish word meaning "good feeling." Fermented by yeast and bacteria in a unique way, kefir has been shown to promote gut health and boost the immune system, among other beneficial effects. Kefir has even been credited with beginning "a new dawn of food," while commercial producers and home brewers are experimenting with modern recipes and flavored variants. Read More...

Kangaroo Tips for Human Preemies

Kangaroo Tips for Human Preemies

If a human mother were like a kangaroo, her “baby” would be born after only one month of gestation. Immediately after birth, her embryonic “baby” would crawl-climb up to one of her nipples and attach to one nipple, and not let go for the next 15 weeks. The “baby” nurses continually from the same nipple, drinking milk that is entirely different in composition from the milk consumed by the baby’s older brother or sister from the mother’s other nipple. The older sibling does not nurse continually. He or she bounces off to play and eat other food, and comes back to sip at the “Fountain of Mom” using the nipple not occupied by the newborn. Read More...

Milk Peptides Fight Bacteria

Milk Peptides Fight Bacteria

Milk is a wonderfully complex fluid that is not only nutritious but is also physiologically proactive. Recently, David Dallas and his colleagues from University of California at Davis used a cutting-edge approach to probe the depths of milk composition. The initial results revealed that human breast milk contains proteins which are digested into peptides, some with antibacterial properties. Read More...

Milk Protein Kills Cancer Cells and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Milk Protein Kills Cancer Cells and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a nontoxic cancer treatment that effectively killed tumor cells without causing any harm to healthy cells in the patient’s body? Or how about a chemical that could make antibiotics effective against bacterial strains that have become antibiotic resistant, such as pneumococci or MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)? Solving just one of these tasks would be a medical miracle, and yet a team of American and Swedish researchers has shown that both are possible. Even more amazing is that the solution to these two seemingly disparate medical issues comes from the same molecule, a protein-lipid complex found in human breast milk called HAMLET (human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells). And unlike its Shakespearean namesake, the actions of milk-borne HAMLET are anything but tragic. Read More...

Mining Animal Biodiversity to Improve Dairy Outcomes

Mining Animal Biodiversity to Improve Dairy Outcomes

Dairy farmers everywhere would rejoice if scientists discovered a way to breed cows that continually produce milk. The answer to this biological riddle may lie in the study of other milk-producing animals. Weird animals produce milk with various lactation strategies. Some produce all of their milk in just a couple days while others produce milk over five years. Some produce copious amounts of milk for a couple days and then not again for several weeks. By comparing the lactation strategies of different animals, researchers can identify exciting new methods of milk production. Read More...

Fermentation of the Future

Fermentation of the Future

Using populations of bacteria or yeasts to change dairy product composition doesn’t sound like a wholesome idea, but that is what lies behind the production of cheese, mango lassi and, despite its name, crème fraîche. Some fermented dairy products such as these have been shown to be healthy in ways beyond providing nutrition. Consequentially, food scientists are asking whether the processes that conjure up greater amounts of certain health-promoting ingredients in fermented dairy could be applied more widely and effectively. Read More...

Milk Cells Cast NETs to Snare Pathogens

Milk Cells Cast NETs to Snare Pathogens

The list of proteins in cow’s milk just keeps getting longer. Tim Reinhardt and colleagues have now discovered nearly 3000 unique proteins in cow’s milk (1). While that would be a story by itself, they also reveal evidence for web-like nets that immune cells secrete into milk when pathogens are present. Yes, milk is cooler than fiction. Read More...

From Mother’s Gut to Milk

From Mother's Gut to Milk

In a world filled with harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites, it seems quite paradoxical that a human infant would be born with an immature and inefficient immune system. That is, of course, until you realize the infant benefits from mom’s immune system hard at work in mucosal surfaces. The process of transferring immunity, also known as passive immunity, begins during pregnancy with the transfer of Immunglobulin G (IgG) cells from maternal to fetal circulation through the placenta. At birth, the mammary gland takes over, providing numerous types of immunogloblulins (antibodies) and other immune factors. Read More...

Milk promotes oral health

Milk promotes oral health

In almost every European language, milk has lent its name to the first teeth that people develop. But the association between milk and teeth is much more than linguistic, as a series of papers published this year demonstrates. Researchers from Denmark and Australia have reported that cow's milk helps to reduce the impact of bacterial species known to contribute to the development of cavities and gum disease. Another group in Sweden has found breast milk to have similar properties. Read More...