Isolation of lactoferrin from milk of different species: Calorimetric and antimicrobial studies

Celia Conesa, Lourdes Sánchez, Carmen Rota, María Dolores Pérez, Miguel Calvo, Sebastien Farnaud, Robert W. Evans

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155 Citations (Scopus)


Lactoferrin (LF) is an iron-binding glycoprotein found in different biological fluids of mammals and in neutrophils. It has been proposed to be involved in many functions, including protection from pathogens. In this work, purification of lactoferrin using an ion-exchange chromatography (SP-Sepharose) was attempted for the milk of the following animals: sheep (Ovis aries), goat (Capra hircus), camel (Camelus bactrianus), alpaca (Lama pacos), elephant (Elephas maximus) and grey seal (Halichoerus grypus), as well as human (Homo sapiens). Lactoferrin was identified in all the milks apart from that from grey seal. The thermal stability of the purified lactoferrins, in their native and iron-saturated forms, was studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Maximum temperature, onset temperature and enthalpy change of denaturation were higher when lactoferrins were saturated with iron than in their native form, indicating an increase in the stability of the protein structure upon iron-binding. Human lactoferrin was found to be the most heat-resistant and the other lactoferrins presented different degrees of thermoresistance, that of elephant being the least resistant. The antimicrobial activity of the different isolated lactoferrins was investigated against Escherichia coli 0157:H7. The minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined by measuring the absorbance at 620 nm. The minimum bactericidal concentrations (MBCs) were also measured and it was found that camel lactoferrin was the most active lactoferrin against E. coli 0157:H7, whereas alpaca and human lactoferrins were the least active.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpaca LF
  • Antibacterial activity
  • Asian elephant LF
  • Camel LF
  • DSC
  • Goat LF
  • Grey seal milk
  • Human LF
  • Sheep LF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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