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Migration of cyclohexanone and 3,3,5-trimethylcyclohexanone from a neonatal enteral feeding system into human milk



Estimate the migration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which have been identified by the EPA as a public health concern, from the enteral feeding system into human milk.

Study design

Unfortified human milk samples were infused through an enteral feeding system with varying duration of infusion, incubator temperature, and pre-infusion tube priming. Purge & Trap analysis and GC/MS were used to identify the VOC profile of milk pre- and post-infusion.


Cyclohexanone and 3,3,5-trimethylcyclohexanone (3,3,5-TMC) accumulated significantly in milk samples post-infusion. Duration of infusion had a significant effect on VOC accumulation (p = 0.001). Accumulation patterns of cyclohexanone and 3,3,5-TMC differed significantly based on milk type (donor vs. mother’s own milk).


VOCs, migrate from plastic-based feeding equipment into human milk. Based on these findings, limiting the duration of feeding infusion would reduce VOC exposure derived from enteral feeding in the neonatal intensive care unit.

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This research was supported by a grant from the Russell Institute for Research and Innovation. Thanks to Yi Li, MS for her guidance on statistical analysis and interpretation for this project and to Madeline Newman for assistance with background research for protocol development.

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Correspondence to Preetha Prazad.

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Prazad, P., Donovan, R., Won, B. et al. Migration of cyclohexanone and 3,3,5-trimethylcyclohexanone from a neonatal enteral feeding system into human milk. J Perinatol 41, 1074–1082 (2021).

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