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In vivo antimicrobial and antiviral activity of components in bovine milk and colostrum involved in non-specific defence

  • Antonius C. M. van Hooijdonk (a1), K. D. Kussendrager (a1) and J. M. Steijns (a2)


The in vivo evidence of the antimicrobial and antiviral activity of bovine milk and colostrum derived components are reviewed with special emphasis on lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase. Their mode of action and the rationale for their application in efficacy trials with rodents, farm animals, fish and humans, to give protection against infectious agents, are described. A distinction is made between efficacy obtained by oral and non-oral administration of these non-specific defence factors which can be commercially applied in large quantities due to major achievements in dairy technology. From the in vivo studies one can infer that lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase are very promising, naturally occurring antimicrobials for use in fish farming, husbandry, oral hygiene and functional foods. Other promising milk-derived compounds include lipids, from which anti-infective degradation products are generated during digestion, and antimicrobial peptides hidden in the casein molecules.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: A. C. M. van Hooijdonk, email


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