Martin Lindegaard, regional marketing manager for food & nutrition at Novozymes, said that while the device, LactoMonitor, was not intended to replace more sophisticated quality control analysis, it offered a simple and precise way to take measurements during production.
“Producing low-lactose products requires a way to determine the lactose in milk under production conditions. The challenge is that current methods require expensive equipment, trained technicians and time. The LactoMonitor offers a convenient and inexpensive, yet accurate tool in the production of low-lactose dairy products,” said Lindegaard, adding that current applications were for fresh and UHT milk but that other potential applications were being investigated.
In order to remove lactose from dairy products, an enzyme is added to the milk which breaks down the lactose into glucose and galactose, until there is no more lactose left in the milk. LactoMonitor works by measuring glucose levels, rather than lactose.
Flurina Schwander, industry technology specialist at Novozymes said: “Our customers can use the LactoMonitor to quickly measure the levels of glucose in the milk, and this way check whether the process has been effective: The more glucose, the less lactose in the milk.”
According to Lindegaard, the device will be especially useful in developing regions where the free-from market is increasingly attractive as it offers higher margins - but where producers do not have access to advanced lab equipment.
Euromonitor data shows that the market for lactose-free products is growing at more than twice the rate of the normal dairy markets.
Novozymes will be showcasing the device at FiE in Paris from 1 to 3 December.
The LactoMonitor also received a distinction from the judges of the FiE Innovation awards for a forthcoming category ‘Innovation in Technology’ which will be offered at future FiE events. It was praised for "signposting a direction into a future category for innovations in technology.”