New lactic acid bacteria create natural sweetness in yogurt

Researchers at DTU have developed a yogurt
bacterium, which can cleave lactose in a cost-
effective and sustainable manner. This makes it possible to create natural sweetness in yogurt with less added sugar.

Yogurt without added sugar is a relatively sour
experience. Often fruit or berries are added to
improve taste, and sugar or sweeteners are added to increase sweetness. However, consumers are increasingly demanding natural foods with less added sugar.

To meet this demand researchers from DTU
National Food Institute have developed a new and natural way to cleave the milk sugar, which relies on safe lactic acid bacteria. The developed lactic acid bacteria create natural sweetness in the yogurt, thus reducing the need for added sugar.

Lactic acid bacteria with lactase can break
down milk sugar Yogurt is fermented milk, and milk naturally contains around 50 grams sugar (lactose) per liter.
Milk sugar is characterized by its low sweetness, but by breaking down lactose with enzymes, more sweet sugars (glucose and galactose) are released.

By breaking down 70% of the lactose in milk, the sweetness can be increased what corresponds to 20 grams per liter of regular sugar.
Commercially available lactase enzymes currently used for breaking down lactose in milk products, are made using microorganisms, which involves, a tedious and costly purification process.
Furthermore, transportation from the manufacturer site to the dairy adds to the costs.

With the solution that the DTU researchers have developed, the lactic acid bacteria-based lactase can be grown and used directly at the dairy, and in the milk that ends up being yogurt. In this way the costs for purchasing the lactase and transportation are reduced, The solution has been tested by a large Danish
dairy, and the study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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