Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science

First Advisor

John Miklavcic

Second Advisor

Anuradha Prakash

Third Advisor

Haotian Zheng

Fourth Advisor

Marco Bisoffi


Bovine milk (BM)-based formula is an alternative for many newborns who do not consume human milk. BM contains extracellular vesicles (EVs), bioactive compounds involved in intercellular communication which regulate critical developmental processes in early life. It was hypothesized that the industrial processing of raw BM affected the content and composition of BM EVs. It is critical to understand how industrial processing affects EVs in BM since changes in the content and composition may attenuate the functions of these bioactive compounds in human health. EVs from raw BM were isolated and characterized in accordance with the Minimal Information for Studies of EVs (MISEV) criteria. Raw milk was subjected to homogenization and pasteurization (ultra-high-temperature, high-temperature short-time) treatments individually and in combination. Processed BM EVs were assessed for concentration, size, and protein and miRNA concentrations. All industrial processing treatments caused significant losses of EVs, when compared to the raw BM reference. The protein and miRNA concentrations adjusted for EV number were significantly higher only in the preheated homogenization group, possibly indicating that the remaining EVs had the highest protein and miRNA densities across all treatments. Industrial heat and homogenization treatments may select for specific populations of EVs, alter EV composition within the BM matrix, or affect the integrity of the EV membrane and macromolecular content within. While current efforts on infant formula development are focused on mimicking human milk, the possible loss of raw milk EVs during processing had not yet been addressed. This new foundational knowledge may contribute to future research on the preservation of EVs in processed dairy products, including infant formula, and narrowing the compositional gap with human milk.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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