Pseudomonas aeruginosa lectin PA-IIL as a powerful probe for human and bovine milk analysis

E. Lesman-Movshovich, N. Gilboa-Garber

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14 Scopus citations


Milk composition exhibits species-specific differences depending on genetic, evolutionary, and environmental factors. In addition, commercial milk preparations are also changed by industrial manipulations, including severe heat processing. Cow milk, used as human food, provides important nutrients but lacks some essential components that are present in raw human milk. The present study, which was aimed at comparing infant breastfeeding to cow-based formula nourishment, shows major differences between the human and the commercial cow milk glycans detectable by the lectins PA-IL (galactose-binding) and PA-IIL (fucose and mannose-binding) isolated from the cells of human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. More than 40 human milk samples, several cow milks, and bovine milk-based infant formulas, were examined using these two lectins. For purposes of comparison, the plant lectins Concanavalin A (Con A), which binds mannose, and Ulex europaeus 1st lectin (UEA-I), which binds fucose, were also used. The most prominent difference was revealed using PA-IIL, which displayed a unique high sensitivity to the human milk fucosylated compounds. PA-IL and UEA-I also exhibited preferential sensitivity to the human milk but considerably lower than that of PA-IIL. Con A was inhibited by human and the other milk preparations examined to the same extent. These findings indicate the superb applicability of PA-IIL for rapid and reliable comparative investigation of milk glycans from human and cow, indicating which glycans could be added to infant formulas in order to enrich them, as well as for verification and quality control of otherwise improved bovine milk-based infant formulas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2276-2282
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Ms. Sharon Victor for the skillful typing of this manuscript and Ms. Ella Gindy for the graphic presentation. This study, which was supported by the Bar-Ilan University Research and Israel Governmental Estate Property Funds , is part of Efrat Lesman-Movshovich's Ph.D. thesis.


  • Bacterial lectin
  • Bovine milk
  • Human milk
  • Milk analysis


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