OBJECTIVE: To determine the maximum dilution of human milk (HM) that yields reliable results for protein, fat and lactose when analyzed by mid-infrared spectroscopy.
STUDY DESIGN: De-identified samples of frozen HM were obtained. Milk was thawed and warmed (40°C) prior to analysis. Undiluted (native) HM was analyzed by mid-infrared spectroscopy for macronutrient composition: total protein (P), fat (F), carbohydrate (C); Energy (E) was calculated from the macronutrient results. Subsequent analyses were done with 1 : 2, 1 : 3, 1 : 5 and 1 : 10 dilutions of each sample with distilled water. Additional samples were sent to a certified lab for external validation.
RESULTS: Quantitatively, F and P showed statistically significant but clinically non-critical differences in 1 : 2 and 1 : 3 dilutions. Differences at higher dilutions were statistically significant and deviated from native values enough to render those dilutions unreliable. External validation studies also showed statistically significant but clinically unimportant differences at 1 : 2 and 1 : 3 dilutions.
CONCLUSIONS: The Calais Human Milk Analyzer can be used with HM samples diluted 1 : 2 and 1 : 3 and return results within 5% of values from undiluted HM. At a 1 : 5 or 1 : 10 dilution, however, results vary as much as 10%, especially with P and F. At the 1 : 2 and 1 : 3 dilutions these differences appear to be insignificant in the context of nutritional management. However, the accuracy and reliability of the 1 : 5 and 1 : 10 dilutions are questionable.
Just add water: Accuracy of analysis of diluted human milk samples using mid-infrared spectroscopy