Abstract # 218:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 02:30 PM-02:40 PM: Session 23 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Oral Presentation


M. L. Power1,2
1Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Nutrition Laboratory, Conservation and Ecology Center, Washington, DC 20008, USA, 2American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The diversity of mammals is reflected in the diversity of lactation strategies that result in a wide range of nutrient concentrations in milks from different species. Among anthropoid primates, milk nutrient concentrations are generally low; anthropoids produce relatively dilute milks. Previous research indicates this is uniformly true for apes and humans, with little variation in milk composition among individuals. In contrast, for several monkey species milk composition, especially fat and protein, can vary significantly among females. Apes are larger than monkeys; it is not certain the extent to which variability in milk composition in monkeys relative to apes represents phylogenetic versus allometric factors. Baboons (Papio spp.) are among the largest monkeys. If large body size buffers milk nutrient composition then baboons should display lower variability than has been found in smaller monkeys. Opportunistic milk samples were collected from 10 lactating Papio hamadryas at the Southwest National Primate Research Center during the semiannual roundup for veterinary exams. Milk nutrients were assayed at the Nutrition Laboratory of the National Zoo. Dry matter (DM), protein and fat content were highly variable among females, with DM ranging from 11 – 23%, protein from 1.2–4.8%, and fat from 1.4–5.9%. Using 95% confidence intervals, variability among baboon milks is comparable to previous results in monkey species [e.g. Callithrix jacchus, DM range 11-24%] but is greater than found in ape milks [DM range 9-13%].