Loss of miRNAs during processing and storage of cow's (Bos taurus) milk

Katherine M. Howard, Rio Jati Kusuma, Scott R. Baier, Taylor Friemel, Laura Markham, Jairam Vanamala, Janos Zempleni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRs, miRNAs) play central roles in gene regulation. Previously, we reported that miRNAs from pasteurized, store-bought bovine milk have biological activity in humans. Here, we assessed the effects of milk processing, storage, somatic cell content, and handling by consumers on the degradation of miRNAs in milk; we also quantified miRNAs in dairy products. Pasteurization and homogenization caused a 63% loss of miR-200c, whereas a 67% loss observed for miR-29b was statistically significant only in skim milk. Effects of cold storage and somatic cell content were quantitatively minor (<2% loss). Heating in the microwave caused a 40% loss of miR-29b but no loss of miR-200c. The milk fat content had no effect on miRNA stability during storage and microwave heating. The concentrations of miRNAs in dairy products were considerably lower than in store-bought milk. We conclude that processing of milk by dairies and handling by consumers causes a significant loss of miRNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-592
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2015


  • heating
  • miRNAs
  • milk
  • processing
  • storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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