The new enzyme – Lactase 849MDP – is a fungal lactase from Aspergillus oryzae. The enzyme is most active under acidic pH (lower than pH7), and can remove lactose from a range of dairy products, including yoghurt, and acid and sweet whey, said the company.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products, and affects approximately 25 percent of American adults, although the rate varies according to race and age. The intolerance, which can cause gas or diarrhoea, varies in severity, so most people are still able to consume at least some dairy. However, US demand for lactose-free milk has increased by 20 percent per year since 1997, the researchers claim.
More than 90 percent of Asians and Native Americans are lactose intolerant, compared to around 75 percent of African Americans, 50 percent of North American Hispanics and about ten percent of European Americans.
“Biocatalysts’ close relationship with their customers highlighted the need for a Lactase enzyme which is suitable for both Kosher and Halal applications,” said the company.
“The launch of Lactase 849MDP has subsequently filled this need. This endorses the importance of companies working closely and being in tune with their customers.”
Lactase enzymes work by breaking down lactose into glucose and galactose by a process called enzymatic hydrolysis.