Steffen Fredslund Hansen

PhD Fellow, PhD Student

Steffen Fredslund Hansen


PhD project title: Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) isolation with higher quality and stability

University: Aarhus University

Department: Department of Food Science

Supervisor: Lars Wiking, associate professor at Department of Food Science, AU

Co-supervisors: Bjørn Petrat-Melin, post.doc. at Department of Food Science, AU, Jan Trige Rasmussen, Senior Scientist at Dept. of Molecular Biology and Genetics, AU.

Project term:
1/9-2016 – 31/8-2019

Master’s degree:
Molecular Nutrition and Food Technology, AU


Project background
In milk the fat is organized in globules surrounded by the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM). MFGM ensures the stability of milk fat towards coalescence as well as enzymatic degradation in the milk. Furthermore, individual constituents of MFGM, e.g. specific phospholipids, sphingomyelin and associated proteins, have exhibited beneficial bioactivities as well as technological properties. For example, enriching infant formula with MFGM has shown to mitigate the reduced cognitive function otherwise observed in formula-fed infants compared to breast-fed infants. However, current MFGM isolation procedures strongly affect the purity and final composition of MFGM, thereby possibly altering its bioactivity/technological application.

My project seeks to optimize the processing conditions during isolation of MFGM in order to produce MFGM fractions with higher purity and bioactivity. Hopefully, this could make way for a more economically feasible and better MFGM-enrichment of functional foods, e.g. infant formulas.


Research outlines
Using richer starting materials (e.g. cream or butter serum) for MFGM isolation, the project first seeks to optimize process parameters during centrifugation, pasteurization and micro- and ultrafiltration to achieve a higher yield and purity of MFGM. A special emphasis will be placed on implementing washing steps and ultrafiltration at different stages of the isolation process. MFGM quality will be assessed by 2D SDS-PAGE and MS/MS (proteins) and HPLC (phospholids). Later on, the preservation of bioactivity of MFGM proteins as a function of processing and storage will be investigated by measuring protein integrity (Western blotting and ELISA), digestibility and rotavirus attenuation. Finally, the stability of MFGM fragments towards oxidation as well as storage will be examinated.


Collaboration partners

DTU Systems Biology

Semper AB

Bioneer A/S

Arla Foods Ingredients



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