Document Type

Journal Article


Public Library of Science

Place of Publication

United States


School of Science




Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, Grant ID 9396, []


Lloyd, M. L., Hod, N., Jayaraman, J., Marchant, E. A., Christen, L., Chiang, P., . . . Simmer, K. (2016). Inactivation of Cytomegalovirus in Breast Milk Using Ultraviolet-C Irradiation: Opportunities for a New Treatment Option in Breast Milk Banking. PLoS ONE, 11(8), e0161116.


Pasteurized donor human milk is provided by milk banks to very preterm babies where their maternal supply is insufficient or unavailable. Donor milk is currently processed by Holder pasteurization, producing a microbiologically safe product but significantly reducing immunoprotective components. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) irradiation at 254 nm is being investigated as an alternative treatment method and has been shown to preserve components such as lactoferrin, lysozyme and secretory IgA considerably better than Holder pasteurization. We describe the inactivation of cytomegalovirus, a virus commonly excreted into breast milk, using UV-C irradiation. Full replication was ablated by various treatment doses. However, evidence of viral immediate early proteins within the cells was never completely eliminated indicating that some viral gene transcription was still occurring. In conclusion, UV-C may be a safe alternative to pasteurisation for the treatment of human donor milk that preserves the bioactivity. However, our data suggests that CMV inactivation will have to be carefully evaluated for each device designed to treat breast milk using UV-C irradiation.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.