SPLASH!® milk science update: March 2021 Issue

This month’s issue features ancient dairy consumption, the development of the neonatal microbiome and immune system, breastfeeding and the immune response, and African cattle genomics.

Dental Time Machines: Tartar Provides Direct Evidence of Dairy Consumption in Africa

Dental Time Machines: Tartar Provides Direct Evidence of Dairy Consumption in Africa

Six-thousand-year-old tartar is a dental hygienist’s nightmare but an archaeologist’s dream. That’s because the same yellow, cement-like deposits that have to be manually scraped off during a dental visit are also dietary time capsules. Like an insect preserved in amber, food particles from a lifetime of meals get trapped in tartar’s mineral matrix and become part of the fossil record. Rather than infer what past populations might have eaten, researchers can analyze ancient plaque and say what one particular individual actually ate. Read More...

Immune System-stimulating Proteins Influence the Development of the Neonatal Microbiome and Immune System

Immune System-stimulating Proteins Influence the Development of the Neonatal Microbiome and Immune System

In a new study, Dr. Viemann Dorothee of Hannover Medical School and her colleagues investigated the role of certain proteins found at high levels in breast milk, S100A8 and S100A9, in the development of the microbiome and early immune responses. Breast milk contains extremely high levels of S100A8 and S100A9, and these proteins are also found at high levels in healthy breast-fed infants. Physiologically, these proteins form a complex (S100A8-A9) known as calprotectin. Read More...

The Early Influence of Breastfeeding on the Infant Immune Response

The Early Influence of Breastfeeding on the Infant Immune Response

Breastfeeding is known to have several long-term impacts on health and immunity, including a lower incidence of allergy, asthma, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. But researchers still know relatively little about the development of the immune system within the first few weeks of life, and about the effect of breastfeeding on this early immune development. Read More...

Success of African Cattle Linked to Admixture Event 1,000 Years Ago

Success of African Cattle Linked to Admixture Event 1,000 Years Ago

If cattle had ancestry.com or 23andMe (er, make that 31andMe), it would look a lot like this study. An international team of researchers sequenced the DNA of 172 cattle from 16 breeds indigenous to Africa to understand their genetic history and identify genetic markers for traits related to the cattle’s survival and success (and that of the pastoralist populations who rely on them) across the continent over the last several millennia. Read More...

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