The milk of the fur-seal, Arctocephalus tropicatis gazella; in particular the composition of the aqueous phase



Milk and plasma samples from the Southern fur-seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis gazella), collected from animals shot between 0 and 26 days post-partum, have been analysed. The aqueous phase of milk (ultracentrifugate) was hyperosmotic to plasma by about 35 m-osmol/kg water but contained no lactose. The osmolality of milk could be accounted for by the ionic content, of which sodium and potassium (in approximately equal amounts) were the main cations. The fat content of the milk was very high (approximately 40%), except in very early lactation (0 and 1 day post-partum). The concentrations of chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphate and citrate in the aqueous phase are given. Major differences between the composition of fur-seal milk and that of other mammals are pointed out, and discussed in relation to water conservation, energy and fat supply, and prolonged milk storage in this snecies.