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Nebraska Research Aims to Boost Milk as Infection Fighter

Milk does a body good, as the saying goes, and Nebraska scientists are exploring how to make it even healthier by enhancing its infection-fighting properties.

University of Nebraska’s assistant professor of food science and technology, Jennifer Auchtung, is working with lead investigator, University of Nebraska’s professor of nutrition and health sciences, Janos Zempleni, on a four-year research project funded by a $500,000 grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how milk enhances or diminishes pathogenic bacteria.

“We know that different parts of a person’s diet can have potential impacts on their microbiome, and this may influence susceptibility to infections with different gastrointestinal pathogens,” said Auchtung. “One of the questions we asked was whether the molecules that are found in dairy products, especially milk, can change the microbiome and influence this susceptibility to infections.”

The new research builds on work Zempleni’s lab has been doing since 2013 to study how nutritional nanoparticles affect the human gut. Ultimately, the research could result in targeted ways to modify diets of people taking antibiotics, perhaps through dietary supplements. The research also could lead to nutritional supplements for infant formulas that improve babies’ health in developing countries. For more read the University of Nebraska article

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