A case study of human milk banking with focus on the role of IoT sensor technology
AffiliationNottingham Trent University
University of Bedfordshire
University College Dublin
University of Essex
Imperial College London
human milk bank
Subject Categories::D633 Food and Beverage Technology
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AbstractHuman milk is the biological norm for newborn nutrition, with breast milk from the mother being recognized as the best source of nutrition for infant health. When the mother’s milk is unavailable, donor human milk is the best alternative for infants with low birthweights. Growing recognition of the benefits of donor human milk has led to increasing global interest in monitoring and controlling human milk’s quality to fulfil the need for donor human milk. In response to this need, the REAMIT project proposed to adapt and apply existing innovative technology to continuously monitor and record human milk quality and signal potential milk quality issues. IoT sensors and big data technology have been used to monitor conditions that may increase spoilage (such as temperature and humidity) in the transportation stage. The sensors were installed in the insulated bags used to transport the milk from the donor’s home or hospital to the human milk bank and vice versa. The temperature and humidity were collected every 30 min, whilst the GPS locator sent data every 2 min. The data are collected in the cloud using GPRS/CAT-M1 technology. An algorithm was designed to send alerts when the milk temperature is above the prespecified threshold specified by the organisation, i.e., above −20 °C. The experience showed evidence that IoT sensors can efficiently be used to monitor and maintain quality in supply chains of high-quality human milk. This rare product needs a high level of quality control, which is possible with the support of smart technologies. The IoT technology used can help the human milk supply chain in five different aspects, namely by reducing waste, assuring quality, improving availability, reducing cost and improving sustainability. This system could be extended to various supply chains of rare and precious commodities, including further medical supplies such as human blood and organs, to completely avoid waste and ensure total quality in supply chains.
CitationRamanathan U, Pelc K, da Costa TP, Ramanathan R, Shenker N (2023) 'A case study of human milk banking with focus on the role of IoT sensor technology', Sustainability, 15 (1), pp.243-.
SponsorsThis research was funded by Interreg North-West Europe (NWE831).
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