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Milk carbohydrates of marsupials. II. Quantitative and qualitative changes in milk carbohydrates during lactation in the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii)



Milk carbohydrates of marsupials. II. Quantitative and qualitative changes in milk carbohydrates during lactation in the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii)



Australian Journal of Biological Sciences 32(6): 519-531



Milk was collected at various stages of lactation from a group of tammar wallabies, M. eugenii, in which parturition was synchronized. The milk carbohydrate was determined by a phenol-sulfuric acid method which was modified to give equal color yields for galactose and glucose. The mean carbohydrate content increased gradually during the 1st 6 mo. of lactation to a peak of 13 g hexose/100 ml of milk, but then fell rapidly to much lower values, over the following 2 mo. Throughout lactation, galactose was the predominant monosaccharide constituent of acid hydrolysates of the milk carbohydrate. Glucose, glucosamine, galactosamine and sialic acid were the only other monosaccharides present. Qualitative changes were investigated by gel filtration and TLC. During the 1st 6 mo. post partum the milk carbohydrate was composed of a variety of oligosaccharides including lactose, but from 8 mo. onwards it consisted mainly of free monosaccharides. From 6-8 mo. an intermediate pattern was observed, i.e., a mixture of lower oligosaccharides and free monosaccharides. In 2 animals which suckled both a new-born pouch young and a young at foot, the mammary gland supplying the new-born secreted milk which was rich in oligosaccharides, whereas that supplying the young at foot produced milk in which the carbohydrates were mainly free monosaccharides, and which had a much lower carbohydrate content.

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Accession: 000699324

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PMID: 549552



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