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Lactic acid bacteria research could lead to new products and more jobs

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By Jim Cornall+

09-Jan-2017

Developing improved lactic acid bacteria may make the Danish dairy sector more competitive, as well as creating more jobs. Pic: ©iStock/Azure-Dragon
Developing improved lactic acid bacteria may make the Danish dairy sector more competitive, as well as creating more jobs. Pic: ©iStock/Azure-Dragon

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are responsible for the taste, consistency and shelf life of a range of dairy products.

In a new Danish National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark project, aroma-producing LAB will be used to improve the flavor of cheeses and other dairy products, and in addition create value from dairy by-products.

Innovation Fund Denmark has invested €740,000 ($779,000) in the three-year €1.3m ($1.37m) project, a collaboration with Arla Foods and Arla Foods Ingredients, which is officially titled ‘NOPROBLEM – Novel tasty dairy products obtained through intelligent resource management.’

Aromas and flavor

Dairy products are characterized by their unique aromas and LAB play important roles in their production.

The new project aims to solve a specific problem concerning insufficient flavor formation in certain types of cheeses, a problem that arises due to limitations in the flavor-forming capacity of the LAB currently being used.

The goal is to develop improved LAB that perform better in industrial settings, which the researchers say should allow for consistent manufacturing of good and tasty cheeses.

Another aspect of the project is to explore ways to integrate an LAB-based flavor-forming cell factory into Arla’s production, and thereby enable the creation of novel milk-based products as well as add value to existing low-value dairy by-products.

This would contribute to increased sustainability of the dairies.

Research benefiting industry

The National Food Institute’s Research Group for Microbial Biotechnology and Biorefining has more than 20 years of research experience working with LAB.

Christian Solem, associate professor at the National Food Institute, said the project is an example of how university research can benefit Danish industry and create value for Danish society.

Søren K. Lillevang, cheese culture expert at Arla Foods, said, “We expect that this technology will be able to solve an existing problem in our production and at the same time make the Danish dairy sector more competitive globally, which will lead to increased exports, create more jobs and improve conditions for our dairy farmers.”

Arla Foods Ingredients’ senior R&D manager, Henrik Jørgen Andersen, said the project has the potential to create new products from dairy by-products that currently have no significant value.

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