[10 February/NZ Herald]

Dr Mark McCann of AgResearch refers to milk as a miracle food as he reflects on the amount of growing a human baby does in the first 1000 days of life is astounding. Mr McCann, a Senior Research Scientist, said one important part of this period was how different organs and systems developed to boost our potential for good health over a lifetime. Mr McCann and fellow scientists have been trying to understand how a recently-discovered and naturally-occurring element of milk, called extracellular vesicles, or EVs, could have a role in how babies grow and develop. One type of EV the researchers are particularly interested in are exosomes, as there is evidence that those derived from milk can not only survive digestion, but potentially interact with the complex biological pathways involved in early life development. Mr McCann said the ability to understand how EVs work provides opportunities to look to how we could naturally enrich or supplement infant foods.