Milk vs. formula… under the microscope

September 8, 2011. Posted in: Blog Posts,Milk

We just got a digital camera attachment for our microscope, so what do you think I photographed first?

All three photos were taken with the exact same magnification, lighting, and all other microscope/camera settings. The color shows more detail than black & white, so I left it alone (even though all the colors may seem unusual coming from three white drops of milk).

 

 

Walkinwalkoutcattle September 9, 2011 at 12:33 am

Dumb question…are those fat cells?  What are those?

Walkinwalkoutcattle September 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Dumb question…are those fat cells?  What are those?

Linar98 September 9, 2011 at 12:41 am

What are the bubbles?

Linar98 September 9, 2011 at 12:41 am

What are the bubbles?

Linar98 September 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm

What are the bubbles?

Cynthiamb88 September 9, 2011 at 12:42 am

as the previous poster stated. very cool but what does it all mean?

Cynthiamb88 September 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm

as the previous poster stated. very cool but what does it all mean?

Iiicrazycats September 9, 2011 at 12:55 am

Awesome! As a lab geek, I’m thoroughly impressed and only a little jealous that I didn’t think to do this myself!

Iiicrazycats September 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Awesome! As a lab geek, I’m thoroughly impressed and only a little jealous that I didn’t think to do this myself!

HappyMom07 September 9, 2011 at 12:58 am

 Even if you weren’t trying to spark a debate… comparing formula, Cows milk and breast milk will always make for some interesting conversation.  I proudly formula fed both my babies. They are healthy, thriving children and doing just fine. 
As long as the baby is healthy and happy, and mommy is happy then it does not matter wether or not they drink breast milk, cow milk or formula. 

HouseOfScience September 9, 2011 at 1:12 am

They might be happy and healthy now…..but, their long term health risks are increased because they didnt consume breastmilk!

HouseOfScience September 8, 2011 at 9:12 pm

They might be happy and healthy now…..but, their long term health risks are increased because they didnt consume breastmilk!

Newbie September 9, 2011 at 1:14 am

I wonder how goats milk would’ve looked since they say it’s the closest to human milk? That’s pretty neat. It’s also so neat to see that the three are nothing alike!

Aimster770 September 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I thought my BF son was having issues with cows milk on transition at 12m so I tried goats milk just to see how that would go…and man!  that was soooo painful for him.  He had gas that was so painful for him that his screamed bloody murder every time he needed to pass it.  At first I could figure out what it was, then…when I didn’t give him goats milk one day to see what would happen he wasn’t in as much pain.  The next day I gave him a little to see and sure enough!  I felt sooooo bad for him!  Lesson learned!
 

QueenHoneyB September 9, 2011 at 1:14 am

I’m not sure what the photos mean either. Are those fat cells? Hm, maybe you should do a magnification of breast milk comparing fore milk to hind milk!

Newbie September 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I wonder how goats milk would’ve looked since they say it’s the closest to human milk? That’s pretty neat. It’s also so neat to see that the three are nothing alike!

Amber H September 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

Actually, the animal with the closest composition to breastmilk is the donkey, followed by the mare. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asses%27_milk_(Donkey%27s_milk) there’s a chart comparing the milk compsition of donkey milk, mare’s milk, human milk and cow’s milk.

Aimster770 September 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I thought my BF son was having issues with cows milk on transition at 12m so I tried goats milk just to see how that would go…and man!  that was soooo painful for him.  He had gas that was so painful for him that his screamed bloody murder every time he needed to pass it.  At first I could figure out what it was, then…when I didn’t give him goats milk one day to see what would happen he wasn’t in as much pain.  The next day I gave him a little to see and sure enough!  I felt sooooo bad for him!  Lesson learned!
 

QueenHoneyB September 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I’m not sure what the photos mean either. Are those fat cells? Hm, maybe you should do a magnification of breast milk comparing fore milk to hind milk!

Sarah September 9, 2011 at 1:15 am

I also would like to know what it all means.  :)

Sarah September 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I also would like to know what it all means.  :)

JC September 9, 2011 at 1:28 am

I think the breast milk looks different because of the large fat globules. What would be more impressive is to stain the living cells in the milk so that you can see them in the cow and breast milk. Of course their aren’t any in formula.

Natalie September 9, 2011 at 2:05 am

And there aren’t any in pasteurized milk either or at least very little…

JC September 9, 2011 at 1:28 am

I think the breast milk looks different because of the large fat globules. What would be more impressive is to stain the living cells in the milk so that you can see them in the cow and breast milk. Of course their aren’t any in formula.

JC September 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I think the breast milk looks different because of the large fat globules. What would be more impressive is to stain the living cells in the milk so that you can see them in the cow and breast milk. Of course their aren’t any in formula.

Natalie September 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm

And there aren’t any in pasteurized milk either or at least very little…

Maggie Roberts September 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

Very interesting. Looks fattier…

Maggie Roberts September 9, 2011 at 1:31 am

Very interesting. Looks fattier…

Maggie Roberts September 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Very interesting. Looks fattier…

Mandy Brzezinski September 9, 2011 at 1:40 am

Lol the breast milk is prettier X)

Mandy Brzezinski September 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Lol the breast milk is prettier X)

anonymous September 9, 2011 at 1:57 am

I’m not certain what it all means, but I can see this— no matter what the formula companies claim, it’s not the same thing as breastmilk… apparently not even close.

anonymous September 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I’m not certain what it all means, but I can see this— no matter what the formula companies claim, it’s not the same thing as breastmilk… apparently not even close.

Caldwell646 September 9, 2011 at 2:02 am

Wow! Just Wow!

Caldwell646 September 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Wow! Just Wow!

Rachael September 9, 2011 at 2:24 am

I’m guessing these are casein micelles, whey proteins and milk fat globules that are found in living substances such as breastmilk. 

Rachael September 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I’m guessing these are casein micelles, whey proteins and milk fat globules that are found in living substances such as breastmilk. 

Shelia September 9, 2011 at 2:29 am

Can you now add goats milk and soy milk to see the comparison to these three?

Shelia September 8, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Can you now add goats milk and soy milk to see the comparison to these three?

Liza September 9, 2011 at 2:42 am

Look at those lush, beautiful fat cells in human milk. So good for baby’s brain and nervous system!

Liza September 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Look at those lush, beautiful fat cells in human milk. So good for baby’s brain and nervous system!

AndreaH September 9, 2011 at 2:45 am

Very interesting, but we definitely need some more info as to what we’re looking at and what it means. :) I assumed it was fat too (the big bubbles), but I’m no scientist. I suppose on the most basic level, it shows how different they all are. But anyone tasting them would know that :)

AndreaH September 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Very interesting, but we definitely need some more info as to what we’re looking at and what it means. :) I assumed it was fat too (the big bubbles), but I’m no scientist. I suppose on the most basic level, it shows how different they all are. But anyone tasting them would know that :)

guest September 9, 2011 at 2:58 am

This makes me want a microscope.

guest September 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm

This makes me want a microscope.

Fmunion September 9, 2011 at 3:10 am

human milk is beautiful : )

Fmunion September 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

human milk is beautiful : )

Silverpixels September 9, 2011 at 3:14 am

Do you know what this proves other than that they are different?

Silverpixels September 8, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Do you know what this proves other than that they are different?

Msteachu2 September 9, 2011 at 3:17 am

Does this mean that even cow’s milk is better for infants than formula? My son is 11 months old and deciding to transition. He was nursed for 6 months.

Msteachu2 September 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Does this mean that even cow’s milk is better for infants than formula? My son is 11 months old and deciding to transition. He was nursed for 6 months.

Stultsj September 9, 2011 at 4:42 am

Looks like bubbles. I would try it again to see if you can visualize any cells.

Stultsj September 9, 2011 at 12:42 am

Looks like bubbles. I would try it again to see if you can visualize any cells.

nancy September 9, 2011 at 4:47 am

Homogenization breaks up the fat globules into smaller units to prevent the milk from separating into skim and cream. Formula is made from homogenized, dried milk (and who knows what else). These photos only illustrate that breast milk is not homogenized. I imagine raw cow breast milk would look pretty much the same at 200x. Pretty pictures, but it doesn’t mean much. (I’m speaking as someone who breastfed each of my children until they were nearly 3 years old. I am most definitely not debating the increased health risks formula-fed children face.)

I, too, would love to see some live cell stains and greater magnification. :)

Rachael September 9, 2011 at 6:45 am

Milk’s basic ingredients are fat, proteins, lactose, vitamins, minerals, and water. This is true of milk from all kinds of mammals. Yet, the proportions of these ingredients differ, as do the kinds of protein and fat. This is what makes each species’ milk uniquely suited to its young. I think what we are seeing here is a demonstration at low magnification that infant formula contains no living cells and is static in nature. you can see that breastmilk is live and teaming with cells. The cows milk contains some, but many of the living components have been killed off due to the heat treatment that it undergoes, it also changes the composition of the nutritional elements, for example calcium becomes ‘hard’ and difficult to digest. It would be interesting to see raw organic cows milk for comparison. 

MamaEvaUSA September 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm

one of the main ingredients in formula or artificial baby milk (ABM) is CORN SYRUP. yuck.

nancy September 9, 2011 at 12:47 am

Homogenization breaks up the fat globules into smaller units to prevent the milk from separating into skim and cream. Formula is made from homogenized, dried milk (and who knows what else). These photos only illustrate that breast milk is not homogenized. I imagine raw cow breast milk would look pretty much the same at 200x. Pretty pictures, but it doesn’t mean much. (I’m speaking as someone who breastfed each of my children until they were nearly 3 years old. I am most definitely not debating the increased health risks formula-fed children face.)

I, too, would love to see some live cell stains and greater magnification. :)

Rachael September 9, 2011 at 2:45 am

Milk’s basic ingredients are fat, proteins, lactose, vitamins, minerals, and water. This is true of milk from all kinds of mammals. Yet, the proportions of these ingredients differ, as do the kinds of protein and fat. This is what makes each species’ milk uniquely suited to its young. I think what we are seeing here is a demonstration at low magnification that infant formula contains no living cells and is static in nature. you can see that breastmilk is live and teaming with cells. The cows milk contains some, but many of the living components have been killed off due to the heat treatment that it undergoes, it also changes the composition of the nutritional elements, for example calcium becomes ‘hard’ and difficult to digest. It would be interesting to see raw organic cows milk for comparison. 

MamaEvaUSA September 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

one of the main ingredients in formula or artificial baby milk (ABM) is CORN SYRUP. yuck.

Clare Kirkpatrick September 9, 2011 at 7:32 am

Wow! That’s so cool to see such a difference! Do you know what all the different bits are?