Irish researchers identify new milk peptides

by Jeff Gelski
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DUBLIN, IRELAND — Researchers at University College Dublin have identified more than 30 new bioactive milk peptides. The breakthrough will allow researchers to focus on biological elements of milk whey and casein proteins, which ultimately may benefit the development of new functional foods, according to Food for Health Ireland’s bioinformatics work package at University College Dublin.

The F.H.I. researchers compared bovine, human and other mammalian milk proteins. They now are synthesizing and testing the 30 predicted novel peptides.

“Unlike any other food, milk has had the chance to co-evolve with mammals for over 200 million years,” said Nora Khaldi, leader of the F.H.I. bioinformatics work package. “In other words, milk has adapted to the different needs of the diverse array of mammals.

“The goal of any species is to maintain its fitness and growth, which is a direct result of the current and future health of the offspring. Because of milk’s adaption to the species needs, it holds the key to those elements that increase the offspring’s health. It is these beneficial features that we now are isolating from milk proteins. This novel approach focuses investigation on the important regions of milk proteins and can thus bring major benefits to future functional foods.”

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