Background: Holder pasteurization (HP) destroys multiple bioactive factors in donor human milk (DM), and UV-C irradiation (UVC) is potentially a gentler method for pasteurizing DM for preterm infants. Objective: We investigated whether UVC-treated DM improves gut maturation and resistance toward bacterial infections relative to HP-treated DM. Methods: Bacteria, selected bioactive components, and markers of antioxidant capacity were measured in unpasteurized donor milk (UP), HP-treated milk, and UVC-treated milk (all from the same DM pool). Fifty-seven cesarean-delivered preterm pigs (91% gestation; ratio of males to females, 30:27) received decreasing volumes of parental nutrition (average 69 mL ·kg-1 ·d-1) and increasing volumes of the 3 DM diets (n = 19 each, average 89 mL · kg-1 · d-1) for 8-9 d. Body growth, gut structure and function, and systemic bacterial infection were evaluated. Results: A high bacterial load in the UP (6 × 105 colony forming units/mL) was eliminated similarly by HP and UVC treatments. Relative to HP-treated milk, both UVC-treated milk and UP showed greater activities of lipase and alkaline phosphatase and concentrations of lactoferrin, secretory immunoglobulin A, xanthine dehydrogenase, and some antioxidantmarkers (all P < 0.05). The pigs fed UVC-treated milk and pigs fed UP showed higher relative weight gain than pigs fed HP-treated milk (5.4% and 3.5%), and fewer pigs fed UVC-treated milk had positive bacterial cultures in the bone marrow (28%) than pigs fed HP-treated milk (68%) (P < 0.05). Intestinal healthwas also improved in pigs fed UVC-treated milk compared with those fed HP-treated milk as indicated by a higher plasma citrulline concentration (36%) and villus height (38%) (P < 0.05) and a tendency for higher aminopeptidase N (48%) and claudin-4 (26%) concentrations in the distal intestine (P < 0.08). The gut microbiota composition was similar among groups except for greater proportions of Enterococcus in pigs fed UVC-treated milk than in pigs fed UP and those fed HP-treated milk in both cecum contents (20% and 10%) and distal intestinal mucosa (24% and 20%) (all P < 0.05). Conclusions: UVC is better than HP treatment in preserving bioactive factors in DM. UVC-treated milk may induce better weight gain, intestinal health, and resistance against bacterial infections as shown in preterm pigs as a model for DM-fed preterm infants.