JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Zinc-binding properties of bovine and human milk in vitro: influence of changes in zinc content.

The total zinc content of samples of fat-free human and bovine milk was 3.5 and 3.6 micrograms/ml, respectively. The total protein content was 5.3 and 29.0 mg/ml, respectively, Sephadex G-75 gel filtration chromatography of bovine milk revealed no evidence of zinc associated with low molecular weight fractions (less than 2000 daltons). However, chromatography revealed that 10% of the zinc in human milk was associated with these fractions. When the zinc content of these milks was raised by adding Zn2+ in vitro, chromatography of milk from both species revealed the presence of zinc with the low molecular weight fractions. More zinc was associated with these fractions from human milk than from bovine milk. Recovery of zinc was nearly 100% for all columns. It is proposed, based upon these binding data, that the association of zinc with low molecular weight components of milk is related in part to both protein content and composition and the relative zinc concentrations. These binding differences might influence the bioavailability of zinc from milk.

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