Immune boosting product now low cost, says developer

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Breast milk Infant formula Breastfeeding Milk

A new process for the production of the human milk oligosaccharide Fucosyllactose that allows for large-scale production of the saccharide means the immune boosting food ingredient is now low cost, claims its German developer.

Klaus Jennewein, marketing and finance director of Jennewein Biotechnologie, told that although the prebiotic and infection reducing benefits of Fucosyllactose have been acknowledged for a long time and are scientifically well backed, it had not been possible, prior to this, to produce these complex sugar molecules cost effectively or in sufficient quantities.

“Our R & D work since 2005 has led to a production process capable of producing Fucosyllacotse (2'- and 3-Fucosyllactose) at reasonable cost.

The current market price for the molecule is €200 per milligram (mg) but due to the output volumes resulting from our innovative purification method, we can radically bring down that price to only a few cents per mg,” ​he said.


Studies have proven that breastfed infants enjoy a considerably higher concentration of bifidobacteria in the intestinal tract than bottle-fed children do, and that this effect is linked to the intake of Fucosyllactose.

Up until now, breast milk substitutes have not contained these saccharides. However, Jennewein Biotechnologie said it can now produce biotechnologically attained Fucosyllactose that can be added to infant formula so that babies that are not breast fed can also benefit from these immune aiding molecules.

No calorific impact

Jennewein maintains that as the company’s Fucosyllactose does not contain any synthetic components, it can be used and consumed as a food ingredient without restriction and would meet the rigorous standards imposed on breast milk substitute manufacture.

Because the human body cannot split the oligosaccharide into its constituents, L-Fucose and Lactose, the human body cannot metabolize Fucosyllactose and, as a result, the consumption of Fucosyllactose does not entail any caloric intake.

“Thus, our Fucosyllactose enables an immune defence function and supports the proliferation of adjuvant intestinal bacteria.”

Global focus

He said that the company is currently in negotiation with several food manufacturers and is targeting the global market with the biotechnological product.

“Obviously we are targeting the breast-milk substitute and complementary infant food products market initially,” ​added Jennewein.

Infant formula companies are increasinly seeking ingredients to replicate the nutritional properties of breast milk as closely as possible so that formula fed babies are not at a nutritional disadvantage.

Market reach

“However, it is not only babies who can benefit from the intake of Fucosyllactose,” ​he continued. “The sugar-molecules can also be used in a huge range of foods including chocolate, yoghurt and dairy-drinks, cereals, sweets and beverages to boost the immunity of the elderly or anyone at high risk of infection from pathogens.”

The company has also been targeting the molecule at personal care industry in terms of an anti-ageing product.

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