Microwave and milk

Ann Riedl friedl at ocvaxa.cc.oberlin.edu
Mon Jan 16 14:13:44 EST 1995

maga at vetbio.unizh.ch (Giovanni Maga) wrote:
> Stephane Corteel (scorteel at resulb.ulb.ac.be) wrote:
> : As a young father (my baby now is 7 weeks old) I read a lot...
> : I've read (and some people also told me) that warwing up a feeding
> : bottle using a microwave oven is not recommended because the microwaves
> : cause molecular changes in some proteins of the milk.
> I find this difficult to believe; it is not clear to me how the
> method of heating would have any effect at all.  Heating is heating,
> as far as proteins are concerned.
> If I am wrong about any of this, someone correct me.
> Jim Hutchins  
> Dear Jim, I am not very smart in physics, but as far as I remember, the way
> you gain heating by microwaves is far different from the conventional
> heating, (it is a sort of "molecular friction"). This is probably the
> reason way when you cook (for example) bread or something similar you will
> never get it cooked as in a conventional oven. If this mechanism can induce
> "unconventional modifications" in proteins I don't know, but I don't think
> so, otherwise also adults would come in troubles eating modified proteins.
> (I think very unlikely that MWs can cause chemical modifications or
> closslinks at the aa level, they don't have the right energy, i.e.
> wavelenght).
> G. Maga, PhD Biochemistry UNI-Irchel ZŸrich.

I'm confused about who wrote what, but to whomever asked the question about 
the dangers of microwaving milk:  the reason that people recommend against
microwaving milk for babies is not because it changes the molecular structure
but because microwaves heat unevenly.  This can result in "hot spots" which
will burn the baby's mouth.  Of course, hot spots in the milk can be eliminated
by shaking the bottle after heating it.  I think the worry is that there will
be hot spots on the glass which will overheat the milk that touches it.  

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