Quantification of total cholesterol in human milk by gas chromatography

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Feb 9, 2018
  • Author: Maurizio Beggio, Cristina Cruz‐Hernandez, Pierre‐Alain Golay, Le Ye Lee, Francesca Giuffrida
  • Journal: Journal of Separation Science


Human milk provides the key nutrients necessary for infant growth and development. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a method to analyze the cholesterol content in liquid human milk samples along lactation. Direct saponification of the sample using ethanolic potassium hydroxide solution under cold conditions was applied and unsaponifiable matter was separated by centrifugation. Cholesterol was converted into its trimethylsilyl ether and the derivative analyzed by gas chromatography coupled with a flame ionization detector. Cholesterol was quantified using epicoprostanol as internal standard. The method is suitable for the determination of cholesterol in only 0.3 g of human milk. It has been validated showing good repeatability (CV(r) < 15%) and intermediate reproducibility (CV(iR) < 15%). The method was used to analyze human milk obtained from five mothers collected at day 30(±3), 60 (±3) and 120 (±3) after delivery. The cholesterol content in human milk slightly decreased from 13.1 mg/100 g at 1 month to 11.3 mg/100 g 120 days after delivery. The method can also be used to determine desmosterol, an intermediate in cholesterol synthesis.

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