Nature’s Elixir: Antimicrobial Properties of Human Milk

ACS Webinars

What bacterial species in the human milk microbiome are most important? Researchers today believe that the molecular answer may be human milk oligosaccharides. These plentiful sugars found in breast milk are thought to strengthen a baby’s immune system, block pathogens from attaching to cell surfaces, and promote healthy microbiomes.

Join Steve Townsend of the Department of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University, in this free interactive broadcast celebrating National Breastfeeding Month to understand the targets that human milk oligosaccharides engage as well as how one can develop tools to modulate the specific aspects of the host-pathogen communication system in early microbiome formation. On the heels of the recent debate by the World Health Organization concerning a resolution promoting breastfeeding proposed by Ecuador, it is critical to discuss the public health aspects of human milk and define, at the molecular level, how it favors microbiome homeostasis over dysbiosis.

What You Will Learn

  • What is the chemistry and biochemistry of human milk oligosaccharides
  • What is the composition of human milk and infant microbiomes
  • Why is the bacteriology of Bifidobacteria and Group B Strep, two important neonatal bacterial species in human breast milk

Additional Resources


The Fine Print

ACS Webinars® does not endorse any products or services. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the American Chemical Society.


Steve Townsend
Vanderbilt University

Courtney Aldrich
University of Minnesota

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