Breaking News on Beverage Technology & Markets

News > R&D

Milk digestion findings 'blueprint' for specialty dairy, drug developments

Post a comment

By Mark Astley+

Last updated on 25-Jun-2014 at 15:51 GMT

Milk digestion findings 'blueprint' for specialty dairy developments

Fresh scientific findings on the structure of milk during digestion could lead to the development of more advanced weight loss drinks, formula for premature babies, and a new form of drug delivery, the Australian researchers being the discovery have claimed.

As detailed in their study, Formation of Highly Organized Nanostructures during the Digestion of Milk, researchers from the Monash University of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) in Australia examined the nanostructure of milk to establish how its components interest with the human digestive system.

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the study found “highly ordered geometric nanostructures during the digestion of dairy milk.”

This discovery, they claim, could provide a "blueprint" for the development of specialty dairy products and the creation of a new system for drug delivery.

“By unlocking the detailed structure of milk we have the potential to create milk loaded with fat soluble vitamins and brain building molecules for premature babies, or a drink that slows digestion so people feel fuller for longer,” said lead researcher, Stefan Salentinig.

“We could even harness milk’s ability as a ‘carrier’ to develop new forms of drug delivery.”

"Unique structure"

Until now, Salentinig claimed, little research has been conducted to establish how milk fats interact with the digestive system.

“We knew about the building blocks of milk and that milk fat has significant influence on the flavour, texture and nutritional value of all dairy food," he said.

"But what we didn’t know was the structural arrangement of this fat during digestion,” said Salentinig.

By recreating the characteristics of the digestive system in a glass beaker and adding cows’ milk, the Monash University team discovered that milk has a "unique structure" during digestion, which it described as "similar to a sponge."

They found that "an emulsion of fats, nutrients and water forms a structure which enhances digestion."

“We found that when the body starts the digestion process, an enzyme called lipase breaks down the fat molecules to form a highly geometrically ordered structure. These small and highly organized components enable fats, vitamins and lipid-soluble drugs to cross cell membranes and get into the circulatory system,” said Salentinig.

The Monash University team now plans to team up with nutritionists to further its findings.

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Post a comment

Comment title *
Your comment *
Your name *
Your email *

We will not publish your email on the site

I agree to Terms and Conditions

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Key Industry Events


Access all events listing

Our events, Events from partners...