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Anne Vuholm Sunds

PhD Student, Postdoc

Anne Vuholm Sunds


PhD project: Effect of natural glycosidases in bovine milk on loss of milk oligosaccharides during processing
University: Aarhus University
Department: Department of Food Science
Supervisor: Lotte Bach Larsen, Professor at Department of Food Science, AU
Co-supervisor: Nina Aagaard Poulsen, Assistant Professor at Department of Food Science, AU
Project term: 010417 – 310320
Master’s degree: Molecular Nutrition and Food Technology, AU


Project background

Milk oligosaccharides provide unique health benefits to neonates as they exhibit bioactivities stimulating the growth of beneficial microorganisms and preventing pathogen adhesion in the gut, as well as their importance for brain development. Human milk oligosaccharides are, however, synthesized in higher concentrations and are more complex than in bovine milk. They are isolated and concentrated as ingredient for infant formula, but oligosaccharide loss can, however, be significant during processing and storage of the final isolate, which lead to an economic loss for the ingredient business. The underlying cause of this loss is presently unknown, but natural heat-stable glycosidases are considered responsible.


Aim of the project

This project aims to investigate the variation of naturally occurring glycosidases in milk and how these vary between breeds and lactation stages, as well as the effect of milk glycosidases on oligosaccharide degradation during storage and processing.


Research outline

Bovine milk glycosidases will be identified and potentially quantified by state-of-the-art mass spectrometry. Glycosidase activity and effects of these enzymes on milk oligosaccharides during storage and after heat treatment will be investigated in pilot studies with use of various analytical methods. Finally, milk oligosaccharides and glycosidases will be analysed in industry fractions for process optimization.

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