Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) have been identified as a key differentiating factor between human and cow’s milk. 2’-Fucosyllactose (2’-FL) is the most abundant oligosaccharide in human milk, making it a key component to narrow the nutritional gap between the gold standard of mother’s milk and infant formula.
Up until recently, HMOs such as 2'-FL had not been available in commercial quantities suitable for supplying the global market. In the short span of 3 years, BASF has achieved milestones to manufacture 2’-FL at the quality and volume levels necessary to supply global infant formula markets.
BASF expertise: World-class production on commercial scale
The successful development of BASF´s fermentation process has been a key step in enabling the global roll-out of 2’-FL. BASF differentiates as an ingredient player with end-to-end know-how of bringing 2'-FL to market: from strain development, fermentation, downstream processing and final commercial production – all steps were developed and optimized in-house, which was key in expediting development.
“We kept upscaling in mind during the entire process, using a specific strain designed for efficient large-scale production that resulted in high productivity,” said Stefan Ruedenauer, Director of Human Nutrition Research and Development at BASF. “But it does not stop here for us: the 2’-FL process is constantly being optimized and will serve to develop the pipeline of next generation HMO products.”
BASF takes on the HMO market
The prospect of narrowing the nutritional gap between human and cow’s milk based infant formula is a highly attractive one, giving rise to new opportunities to meet consumer unmet needs. Additionally, BASF is studying how the different health benefits of HMOs can be further developed into application platforms beyond infant formula. BASF’s production process capable of supplying global volumes will enable HMOs to move out of a niche market into high growth new market segments. Combined with strategic investments in technology and robust expertise, BASF is well-positioned to take on technology leadership in this fast-expanding field.
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