Digesting dairy developments

by Jeff Gelski
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Digestion ranks as a key element in recent dairy ingredient innovations. For example, Friesland Foods Domo USA, Chicago, now offers Vivinal GOS, an ingredient that has been shown to regulate digestion, improve calcium absorption and stimulate immune functions.

Also, a blend of slow-acting and fast-acting proteins in Solmiko MPC and MPI ingredients are digested in such a way as to deliver benefits in such applications as performance nutrition beverages.

Vivinal GOS features galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which function as fibers and provide beneficial prebiotic activity in the gut, according to Friesland Foods Domo USA. Galacto-oligosaccharides are most commonly derived from dairy or lactose through an enzymatic reaction that breaks down the mono-sugars and then links those mono-sugars into various chain lengths to make galacto-oligosaccharides, said Sarah Staley, vice-president of business development for the company.

GOS is fermented in the colon by beneficial bacteria and stimulates growth of bifidobacteria. It inhibits growth of certain pathogen bacteria like E. coli and prevents adherence of these bacteria to the colon cell wall, Ms. Staley said.

"This ensures a balanced intestinal microflora and healthy gut function," she said. "It therefore greatly contributes to a healthy digestive system."

Prebiotic fermentation of Vivinal GOS in the colon also produces short-chain fatty acids that lower the pH of the intestine, she said.

"This decrease in pH allows more calcium to pass over the intestinal barrier into the body, where it can be utilized most effectively," Ms. Staley said.

At least 69 published studies have focused on the physiological benefits of GOS, she said. Peer-reviewed studies may be found in such journals as The Journal of Nutrition, Pediatric Research and Early Human Development. Typical applications for Vivinal GOS include juices, smoothies, snacks, bars, nutritional beverages, enhanced waters and infant formula.

"There are really no limitations to where Vivinal GOS can be used," Ms. Staley said. "It is both heat and acid stable and available in syrup or powder form."

The syrup form is clear, allowing for applications in water or other beverages that require clarity.

Glanbia Nutritionals offers Solmiko MPC and MPI ingredients, which are ultra-filtered milk proteins and feature both slow-release micellar casein and fast-release whey protein.

"Whey protein is rich in essential amino acids," said Gerard O’Sullivan, senior technical manager. "Studies have shown it to be more effective in stimulation of whole body protein synthesis than casein. However, the short digestion time also means that its impact is short-lived."

He added, "It is generally accepted that whey protein, as a soluble protein, is digested rapidly whereas casein clots in the stomach and is digested over an extended period. This is understood as the reason micellar casein has been found more effective in preventing whole body protein breakdown and sustaining blood amino acid levels than whey proteins."

Solmiko MPC and MPI ingredients are soluble and heat stable, and they have a good milky flavor, Mr. O’Sullivan said.

"This makes them an excellent delivery mechanism in a range of nutritional products," he said "They provide the protein benefits described and a mineral rich environment."

MPC and MPI ingredients may be used to increase the per cent of energy from protein in beverages designed to address malnutrition, he said.

"While less common in nutrition bars, they can help also in the texture when added in small amounts," Mr. O’Sullivan said. "In dairy products like yogurt they can be used to add texture and stability or can be used to fortify milk with protein."

Glanbia recently opened a 7,000-square-foot product development center in Twin Falls, Idaho, called the Glanbia Collaboration Center. Mr. O’Sullivan, who is based in Ireland, said the facility will help customers that seek advice on formulating with Solmiko. The facility includes pilot plant equipment for developing and testing prototypes.

"The technical teams in Ireland and Twin Falls work closely together, sharing knowledge and projects to ensure the optimum response to customer requirements," Mr. O’Sullivan said.

In other dairy ingredient innovations:

• Grande Custom Ingredients Group, Lomira, Wis., this summer introduced Bravo 600, a whey protein with a mild, creamy, milky flavor that contributes a heavy, tacky and smooth texture. It has been shown to work in cheese sauces, cheesecakes and some Alfredo-type sauces, said Michelle Ludtke, senior food technologist. It may replace some more expensive ingredients.

• DSM Food Specialties, Delft, The Netherlands, has introduced Delvotest MT, an immunoassay designed to detect the presence of melamine in milk. It was developed specifically for the Chinese dairy industry. The test requires less than 1 ml of the sample extract to determine the product’s safety. The test may be performed in less than 1 hour.

Published studies focus on dairy ingredients

Recently published research on dairy ingredients has focused on their effect on frozen dough, their effect on vascular health and how an extrusion process may affect whey protein concentrate:

►Incorporating modified whey protein concentrate (W.P.C.) as dough improvers was shown to have rheological and textural changes in bakery products made from frozen dough, according to a study appearing on-line in Food Hydrocolloids. The study involved researchers from North Carolina State University in Raleigh and from the National Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, in Pakistan. They examined whether W.P.C. that was modified to increase viscosity in solution might overcome an undesirable weakening of the gluten network that usually occurs in frozen dough products during prolonged frozen storage. They found adding the modified W.P.C. had several benefits, including an inducing of softening in the dough system.

►Supplementation of a novel whey-derived peptide in healthy people improved vascular function in a study that appeared in the July issue of Nutrition Journal. The study involved researchers from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. Twenty healthy people participated in two vascular testing days, each preceded by two weeks of supplementation with a single dose of 5 grams a day of either a novel whey-derived peptide (NOP-47) or a placebo. Ingestion of NOP-47, a Glanbia Nutritionals product, resulted in a 28% increase in artery dilation measured by ultrasound and also significantly increased peak forearm blood flow.

"This is the first time a natural peptide has been shown to positively impact vascular function using these techniques," said Jeff Volek, a professor and registered dietician at the University of Connecticut. "Glanbia’s whey peptide could be of significant value in maintaining nitric oxide levels and vascular function."

►In a study also appearing on-line in Food Hydrocolloids, a novel supercritical fluid extrusion (SCFX) process was used to texturize whey protein concentrate (W.P.C.) into a product with cold-setting gel characteristics that was stable over a range of temperatures. Researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., hypothesized that incorporating the texturized W.P.C. with an aqueous phase may improve emulsion stability and enhance rheological properties of cold, gel-like emulsions. They found the W.P.C. showed excellent emulsifying properties when compared to a commercial W.P.C. in slowing down emulsion breaking mechanisms such as creaminess and coalescence.

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