Freezing and Thawing of Colostrum

Freezing and Thawing of Colostrum

Introduction. Colostrum is an excellent source of nutrients and immune proteins that transmit protection to a newborn calf. Since colostrum is very important for newborns, manufacturers must ensure that they always have a source of available colostrum. Therefore, storage of colostrum is extremely necessary. Two common ways of storing the colostrum are in the refrigerator and in the freezer.

Storage of colostrum in the refrigerator. Colostrum can be stored in the refrigerator only 1 week, after the quality of the colostrum (Ig concentration) falls. If you store the colostrum in the refrigerator, check if your refrigerator is cooling well (1-2 ° C), so as not to accelerate the growth of bacteria. If the colostrum shows signs of souring, the quality of the colostrum decreases. Ig molecules in the colostrum, which transmit passive immunity to the calf, will be destroyed by bacteria, reducing the amount of immunity that colostrum can provide. Therefore, it is important that the colostrum is stored in the refrigerator for a very short time.

Frozen colostrum. Colostrum can be frozen for a year, without significantly affecting Ig’s composition. One study reported that colostrum was stored for 15 years without a serious deterioration in IgG. Freezing chambers “frost-free” are not suitable for long-term storage of colostrum. At them the system passes through cycles “a frost-defrosting”, and therefore colostrum can melt. And this can significantly shorten the shelf life of the colostrum. Frozen colostrum in special packages, an excellent method for storing colostrum. It is very important that the package lies horizontally in the freezer. If the package lies horizontally, the degree of acceleration of the defrost increases, thereby reducing the delay between birth and feeding of the calf. The freezer should have a temperature of -5 ° C, so from time to time check your freezer.

Defrosting colostrum. The main interest in defrosting frozen colostrum is to defrost the ice without damaging the immune proteins. It is best to do this with warm water (not hot) (50 ° C). As an alternative, colostrum can be melt in a microwave with little Ig damage. It is important to defrost in the microwave short periods at low power. Pour periodically melted colostrum (liquid), so do not overheat it. It is also important to avoid “hot spots” inside the frozen colostrum. Using a rotating platform minimizes Ig damage.

The conclusion. Colostrum is an excellent source of nutrients and immune proteins for the calf. Handle it as a very valuable product. Protect the IgG molecule by freezing the colostrum and unfreezing it properly. Your calves will thank you.

Source: Jim Quigley