Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Sialic acid- porcine milk, pig production and human health

Charles Sturt University (CSU) student and Graham Centre member Dr Marefa Jahan will be awarded her PhD in a ceremony on Tuesday 12 December.

Dr Marefa JahanDr Jahan's PhD focused on sialic acids, a type of sugar molecule that is found in relatively high concentrations in porcine milk.

Her research found that supplementing the diets of pigs through gestation and lactation with the sialylated glycoprotein, lactoferrin improved milk production and piglet growth. 

Dr Jahan's research also examined the nonhuman sia (Neu5Gc), which is often associated with cancer.

She found the beneficial Sia Neu5Ac is extremely high in red meat, but organ meats contain significant amount of non-human Sia Neu5Gc that is species and tissue specific.

In conclusion, Dr Jahan's research demonstrated that Sia's exhibit multiple biological functions which are both beneficial and contra-indicative for human health.

Dr Jahan's research was supported by a CSU Postgraduate Research Scholarship.