InfantBrain-New infant formulas to promote optimal brain development

Project: Research

Project Details


Mothers-milk is the optimal diet for all infants, but some children don´t haveaccess to enough mothers-milk. In these cases, infant formula must be used as a supplement. Compared with children given mothers-milk, babies that to a large extent have been fed formula have a reduced cognitive development. Neurodevelopment after birth is highly dependent on a high supply of long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids from the diet, but fatty acid absorption is lower from infants fed infant formula than breast-milk fed babies. This is partly due to a lower rate of triglyceride (TG) hydrolysis when fat is consumed in infant formulas than in mother´s milk. In infant formula, droplets of TG are emulsified by a combination of milk proteins and soy lecithin, while the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) emulsifies TG in natural milk. The MFGM is a complex membrane system, highly enriched in sphingomyelin and cholesterol. We have shown that emulsification of the fat in phospholipids from MFGM, causes a more efficient TG hydrolysis than emulsification in soy lecithin. In this project, we will develop an infant formula in which the TG is emulsified in a MFGM-fraction optimized for maximal digestibility.
We will achieve this through a combination of in vitro studies, process development and animal studies. In the in vitro studies, we will define the optimal composition of the fat droplet surface-layer in regard to digestibility by the enzymes active in the infant gut. In the process studies, we will develop new methods for gentle and efficient large-scale production of MFGM-fractions fulfilling the requirements for optimal digestibility. In the animal studies, we will determine the effects of the new formula on fatty acid absorption, lipid accretion in the brain and cognitive development.
Funding: Innovations Fund Denmark
Collaborator: DTU, Systems Biology(Project Management), Departmentof Food Science, University of Copenhage, Dept. OfVeterinary Clinical and Animal Sciences, Universityof Copenhagen, Arla FoodsIngredient, Bioneer A/S, Semper AB.
Effective start/end date15/02/201615/02/2020


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