Abstract # 52:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


M. L. Power and M. Maslanka
Nutrition Laboratory, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20013, USA

Lactation is a defining characteristic of mammals. All female mammals produce milk from glandular mammary tissue that their offspring ingest. The diversity of the mammalian radiation is reflected in the diversity of lactation strategies that have evolved. This in turn is reflected in differences in milk composition among mammals. All milks contain the necessary nutrients for existence; however, the proportions vary widely. Milk is a complex biological fluid. Its study is an important, but relatively neglected component for understanding the evolution of mammals. The milk collection at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (SNZP) represents a unique research resource. The Nutrition Laboratory at SNZP has extensive experience in assaying milks; milks from over 200 species have been assayed, including over 30 species of primates. Validated techniques for accurately measuring the proximate nutrient composition of milk (dry matter, fat, protein, sugar, minerals, and energy) have been established at the lab. Proximate analysis can be accomplished on as little as 0.5 ml of primate milk. A large number of milk samples from a wide variety of mammals are stored frozen. New samples continue to be collected from zoos, research colonies, and wild animals. In addition, published data from previously assayed samples are available in summary form, as well as some unpublished data. Three doctoral dissertations on primate lactation have been facilitated by the laboratory and the milk collection.