Dr. Mark McGuire
University of Idaho, Associate Dean of Research & Director of Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station
Date and Time:
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2:30 pm PDT/5:30 pm EDT
Wed May 24th, 7:30 am AEDT (Sydney)
Wed May 24th, 9:30 am NZDT (Wellington)
Through a variety of dairy products including fluid milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and butter, bovine milk provides myriad essential nutrients to the human consumer. The dairy industry has great desire to produce the highest quality milk possible. Of particular concern in this regard are pathogenic bacteria that might lead to foodborne illness. Long-considered sterile unless produced by infected cows or contaminated via milking equipment, any milk containing bacteria has historically been considered a health risk to the consumer. However, the advent of culture-independent assessment of bacteria has confirmed that milk is not sterile, even when cows are healthy and the milking equipment is properly cleaned. Recent research sequencing 16S rRNA genes has clearly demonstrated that, like human milk, bovine milk is a rich source of a variety of different bacteria1. Evidence also exists that the bacterial communities in milk can differ among farms, suggesting that local environments may contribute to the relative abundance of particular bacteria. Some studies report microbiological indicators of milk quality and safety, including prevalence and levels of pathogens in bulk tank milk samples2 that are important inputs to microbial risk assessments. In conclusion, cow’s milk contains bacteria which may have no effect on consumer health, may be deleterious, or may impart health benefits (less studied). Additional interdisciplinary research is critically needed to understand the balance of risks and benefits.
Dr. Mark McGuire is a lactation physiologist with expertise in factors such as nutrition, endocrinology, and bacteria that affect milk synthesis and quality. Mark received his BS from the University of Illinois (1984), MS from the University of Florida (1987), and PhD from Cornell University (1994). He has been on faculty at the University of Idaho since 1995 and is a Professor in Lactation Biology. Mark served as Head of the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science from 2012 to 2015 before becoming the Interim Director of the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in August 2015. The interim status was removed in November 2016. Mark works closely with his wife, Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire, studying both bovine and human lactation with particular interest in the health and safety of foods for human consumption. They recently released a book, edited with Dr. Lars Bode, titled Prebiotics and Probiotics in Human Milk; Origins and Functions of Milk-Borne Oligosaccharides and Bacteria, which directly addresses the most recent information about bacteria in human milk. Mark has published over 90 refereed papers and 8 book chapters and is an active member of the American Dairy Science Association, American Society for Nutrition, American Society for Microbiology, and the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation. Mark and Shelley live in Moscow, Idaho.