Bovine Milk-Derived Emulsifiers Increase Triglyceride Absorption in Newborn Formula-Fed Pigs

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Efficient lipid digestion in formula-fed infants is required to ensure the availability of fatty acids for normal organ development. Previous studies suggest that the efficiency of lipid digestion may depend on whether lipids are emulsified with soy lecithin or fractions derived from bovine milk. This study, therefore, aimed to determine whether emulsification with bovine milk-derived emulsifiers or soy lecithin (SL) influenced lipid digestion in vitro and in vivo. Lipid digestibility was determined in vitro in oil-in-water emulsions using four different milk-derived emulsifiers or SL, and the ultrastructural appearance of the emulsions was assessed using electron microscopy. Subsequently, selected emulsions were added to a base diet and fed to preterm neonatal piglets. Initially, preterm pigs equipped with an ileostomy were fed experimental formulas for seven days and stoma output was collected quantitatively. Next, lipid absorption kinetics was studied in preterm pigs given pure emulsions. Finally, complete formulas with different emulsions were fed for four days, and the post-bolus plasma triglyceride level was determined. Milk-derived emulsifiers (containing protein and phospholipids from milk fat globule membranes and extracellular vesicles) showed increased effects on fat digestion compared to SL in an in vitro digestion model. Further, milk-derived emulsifiers significantly increased the digestion of triglyceride in the preterm piglet model compared with SL. Ultra-structural images indicated a more regular and smooth surface of fat droplets emulsified with milk-derived emulsifiers relative to SL. We conclude that, relative to SL, milk-derived emulsifiers lead to a different surface ultrastructure on the lipid droplets, and increase lipid digestion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number410
Issue number2
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Absorption, Emulsions, Fat, Gastric lipase, Intestine, Milk, Preterm neonates, Soy lecithin, Vegetable oil

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