Chr Hansen and Novozymes claim that their new LactoYield enzyme, devised through an ongoing collaboration project between the two companies, will allow processors to convert lactose from by products like whey into lactobionic acid (LBA).
Hans Christian Bejder, managing director for the group’s New Enzymes division, said that LBA, which has applications in pharmaceutical products as well as providing dry matter in some cheese types, was an untapped area of income for the dairy industry.
“Normally, the process of obtaining the acid has been too expensive for dairy manufacturers to perform,” he stated.
Bejder told DairyReporter.com that the new enzyme made it possible for dairy groups to obtain LBA on an industrial scale in order to maximise profits from by products like the whey stream. Chr Hansen claims that the majority of the remnants from cheese production are whey, creating a wealth of opportunities for dairy groups to capitalise on.
The spokesperson stressed that ongoing development of LBA within food applications was focused currently in the US, as other markets like the EU do not allow use of the product for formulation due to its status as a novel ingredient.
Despite the need for further approval to roll out wider launches of LactoYield and LBA on the global food market, the company said that it hoped to test European reaction to the product in the US market before investing in expanding use.
“The dairy industry doesn’t have many applications outside food,” stated Bejder. “We believe there could be potential for LBA in certain biodegradable solutions.”
The group also claimed there could be applications for pharmaceuticals as well.
“LBA has unique function on cell surfaces and has shown potential use in wound healing products,” stated Chr Hansen.
‘Proof of concept’
On the US market, where the product is already currently approved for use in food production, Chr Hansen suggested that there was a strong proof of concept specifically related to the use of cheese in pizzas.
In a statement released by the company, Bejder suggested that LBA had been shown to successfully provide dry matter for pizza cheese without affecting the overall properties of the ingredient. He claimed this development could ensure greater value for a company from their lactose supply.
“The value of lactose becomes the same as the value of cheese dry matter,” he stated. “The return on this application is very high and can easily justify investments required even at relatively low pizza cheese volumes.”
Other potential food uses for LBA highlighted by the group include replacing skim milk powder in ice cream products, the fortification of milk and soft drinks and even as a means for reducing water loss in meat products during storage and cooking.
Under the conditions of their cooperation, CHR Hansen says it works on selling and marketing new products, while Novozymes develops the enzymes itself.