Colostrum

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colostrum

[kə′las·trəm]
(physiology)
The first milk secreted by the mammary gland during the first days following parturition.

Colostrum

 

in mammals and man, a secretion of the mam-mary glands present for a few days before and after parturition.

Colostrum is a thick, viscous, yellowish fluid with a brackish taste and characteristic odor. It differs from milk in its greater acidity, its higher content of dry matter (especially proteins— mainly albumins and globulins—and fats, minerals, and vitamins), and its lower content of sugar. In kind and combination of nutrients, colostrum is an indispensable food for newborns. It contains a large quantity of immune bodies and antitoxins, which protect the infant from the effects of pathogenic bacteria. In addition, it is a laxative and stimulates the normal activity of the digestive tract. In general, it helps the newborn adapt to extrauterine existence. Animal colostrum is not suitable for industrial processing; it clots quickly upon pasteurization and imparts an unpleasant flavor and poor storage potential to food products containing it. Human colostrum approaches the composition of normal milk by the third day or the end of the first week after labor; animal colostrum, after seven to ten days.