Five Haflinger mares were hand-milked at 0 h (pre-suckle) and 6 h (postsuckle), 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h after parturition. Total solids, protein, fat, lactose, calculated gross energy content, leptin and non-protein nitrogen components (urea, alpha-amino nitrogen, creatinine and allantoin) were determined. The levels of the major constituents differed significantly in pre-suckle colostrum from subsequent samples. Leptin levels were the highest in whole (9 ng.mL(-1) of immunoreactive human equivalent HE +/- 0.48 ng. mL(-1), SEM) and skimmed (7.8 ng HE.mL(-1) +/- 0.52 ng.mL(-1), SEM) pre-suckle colostrum, declined sharply at 6 hours postpartum, and more slowly subsequently. Mean urea concentration was constant at around 5.0 mM, while alpha-amino N increased over the observation period and creatinine and allantoin decreased. These findings provide a further indication that mares' milk can be regarded as a functional food.
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