Journal article

Marsupial milk: a fluid source of nutrition and immune factors for the developing pouch young

Elizabeth A Pharo



Marsupials have a very different reproductive strategy to eutherians. An Australian marsupial, the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) has a very short pregnancy of about 26.5 days, with a comparatively long lactation of 300-350 days. The tammar mother gives birth to an altricial, approximately 400 mg young that spends the first 200 days postpartum (p.p.) in its mother's pouch, permanently (0-100 days p.p.; Phase 2A) and then intermittently (100-200 days p.p.; Phase 2B) attached to the teat. The beginning of Phase 3 marks the first exit from the pouch (akin to the birth of a precocious eutherian neonate) and the supplementation of milk with herbage. The marsupial mother progressively alters mi..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

Elizabeth A. Pharo acknowledges funding from the Cooperative Research Centre for Innovative Dairy Products (CRC-IDP) and the School of Biosciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia. Elizabeth A. Pharo was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. Elizabeth A. Pharo acknowledges the contribution of Professor Marilyn Renfree AO to the author's appreciation for the unique attributes of the tammar wallaby and its use as a model study species.