Human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) are discussed to play a crucial role in an infant’s development. Lewis blood group epitopes, in particular, seem to remarkably contribute to the beneficial effects of HMO. In this regard, large-scale functional human studies could provide evidence of the variety of results from in vitro investigations, although increasing the amount and complexity of sample and data handling. Therefore, reliable screening approaches are needed. To predict the oligosaccharide pattern in milk, the routine serological Lewis blood group typing of blood samples can be applied due to the close relationship between the biosynthesis of HMO and the Lewis antigens on erythrocytes. However, the actual HMO profile of the individual samples does not necessarily correspond to the serological determinations. This review demonstrates the capabilities of merging the traditional serological Lewis blood group typing with the additional information provided by the comprehensive elucidation of individual HMO patterns by means of state-of-the-art analytics. Deduced from the association of the suggested HMO biosynthesis with the Lewis blood group, the matrix-assisted laser desorption/ ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry profiles of oligosaccharides in individual milk samples exemplify the advantages and the limitations of sample assignment to distinct groups. Read More
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