Teagasc dairy experts and their industry partners are nearly ready to use an enhanced adaptation of cow’s milk to bring it even closer to mirroring the components of human breast milk.

Industry leaders attending day one yesterday of the three-day Dairy Science & Technology Symposia 2016 in Dublin heard that Teagasc is at an advanced stage in having cow’s milk mirror the balance of casein, protein, and other elements in human breast milk.

Cow’s milk is made up of around 80% casein and 20% protein, whereas human milk is around 40% casein and 60% protein.

“We are developing technology that is bringing the balance in cow’s milk in line with human breast milk,” said Dr Phil Kelly, senior researcher in Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork. 

“That process is getting near market use, or at least is in the course of doing so.

“You have to look at the track that leads from the initial concept through validation and pilot phase, and creating a process that is robust enough to transfer into industry. In Ireland, we are probably a global leader in developing infant formula processes.

“We have all the leading global infant formula companies here. We have a strong three-way relationship between those companies, our research teams and the dairy co-ops. We are all working together on these innovative research processes.”

Teagasc researchers are also working with Food for Health Ireland researchers to enhance infant formula with anti-infective ‘milk sugars’ similar to those found in breast milk.

However, this study of oligosaccharides (or ‘milk sugars’) will not feature in the three-day International Dairy Federation seminar, which is bringing together 600 international dairy scientists, technologists, food formulators, and process engineers.

Along with Dr Mark Fenelon’s paper on ‘Next generation dried infant milk formula processing’, the busy schedule will also include discussion of on advances in cheese flavour engineering and characterisation; the use of simulated gastric digestion of the matrix that defines cheese and the potential for even greater health benefits; and a special feature on ‘Infant Milk Formula and Adult Nutritionals’.

Dr Paul Cotter, Teagasc Food Research programme, Moorepark, will outline how the latest molecular diagnostic tools such as nucleic acid-based approaches are being used to investigate microbial-related cheese quality defects.

Another highlight will be Novel developments from the INRA Rennes team (France) featuring two- in-one use of sweet whey to improve the biomass production and spray drying viability of probiotics, and a new process for the production of permeate powders without spray-drier.

Véronique Pilet, CNIEL in France, presented an ‘Overview of global markets for dried products and cheese, including recent restructuring and investment trends’.


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