Dictionary > Colostrum

Colostrum

Definition
noun, plural: colostra
The first milk secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals coming into lactation
Supplement
Colostrum is the first milk produced by mammalian mothers, including human mothers. It is secreted by the mammary glands. It is yellowish, milky fluid rich in immunoglobulins and lymphocytes. These immune factors come from the mother. By breast feeding, these immune factors are transferred to the infant where they provide passive immunity.
Colostrum is produced in late pregnancy and after giving birth. Following this is the production of milk that is thicker and creamier than the colostrum. Nevertheless, the colostrum contains more lactalbumin and lactoprotein. Colostrum generally has higher protein concentration than milk. Depending on the species, the fat content of colostrum varies. In sheep and horses, colostrum has more fat content than milk. In humans, milk has more fat content than colostrum.
Colostrum is also essential to newborns in terms of acting as a milk laxative. It promotes the passing of meconium (first stool).
In humans, there are mothers who are not able to produce colostrum. The inability to produce colostrum is linked to a mutation in the ABCC11 gene affecting mostly those with East Asian descent.1
Synonym(s):

  • foremilk
  • beestings
  • bisnings
  • first milk

See also:

  • milk
  • Related term(s):

    • Colostrum corpuscle

    Reference(s):

    1 Miura, Kiyonori; Yoshiura, Koh-ichiro; Miura, Shoko; Shimada, Takako; Yamasaki, Kentaro; Yoshida, Atsushi; Nakayama, Daisuke; Shibata, Yoshisada; Niikawa, Norio (2007-06-01). “A strong association between human earwax-type and apocrine colostrum secretion from the mammary gland”. Human Genetics. 121 (5): 631–633.


    You will also like...

    Electromagnetic spectrum of a brain
    Sleep and Dreams – Neurology

    While learning and intelligence are associated with the functions of a conscious mind, sleep and dreams are activities o..

    Young plant growing from the soil.
    Soils

    Nutrients in the soil are essential to the proper growth of a land plant. This tutorial deals with the properties of soi..

    takahē
    Takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

    Meet the colorful takahē, an extremely rare flightless bird. Find out more about its unique features and why they matte..

    primitive arthropods
    Arthropods

    The arthropods were assumed to be the first taxon of species to possess jointed limbs and exoskeleton, exhibit more adva..

    Human Reproduction
    Human Reproduction

    Humans are capable of only one mode of reproduction, i.e. sexual reproduction. Haploid sex cells (gametes) are produced ..

    Adaptive Radiation
    Adaptive Radiation

    The diversification of several new species from a recent ancestral source, each adapted to utilize or occupy a vacant ad..