Food for Health Ireland’s Milk Mining Starts to Strike Gold

Food for Health Ireland’s (FHI) ‘Intelligent Milk Mining’ initiative is already showing significant potential for the discovery of novel bioactives in milk. Currently in progress in Ireland, FHI’s unique alliance of scientific expertise and commercial aptitude is initially concentrating on the ‘mining’ of milk peptides. The FHI research team is optimistic that their preliminary findings will prove valuable in the production of functional foods that will help alleviate the world’s most pressing health issues.

To achieve a faster and broader screening of milk, FHI has developed an innovative, multi-faceted approach to intelligently mine milk for health benefits. Combining recent advances in milk genomics and proteomics research enables the bioinformatics team to search for bioactive peptides hidden in the milk structure. These results are then used to guide the traditional methods of enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation by food-grade lactic acid bacteria which are employed by FHI’s dairy experts to deconstruct the milk. Moreover, the data from the bioinformatics research has the potential to generate novel strategies for releasing the benefits of milk. Additionally, FHI’s proteomics team is analyzing the structure, function and expression profile of the novel compounds to pinpoint the bioactive sequence of interest and establish a high resolution peptide database.

The organizational structure and the unrestricted flow of information between collaborating centers creates an open environment in which to foster innovation. As such, FHI expects to significantly speed up the development of new dairy-derived ingredients for use in functional foods.

Dr. Samara Freeman, Project Manager at FHI, comments: “These are certainly exciting times for FHI. The diversity of expertise and technologies we have integrated into the FHI Centre is outstanding. Our intelligent milk mining is now fully under way and the initial feedback from our team is indeed promising. Bringing these broad capabilities together is a significant step which is already yielding benefits. This reinforces our strategy of deconstructing milk in search of bioactives. Focusing on the current key global health issues, as well as the future commercial benefits of FHI will ensure that we maximize the potential of our research and findings.”

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