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Unique protein in production

Press Release   •   Sep 16, 2008 09:41 GMT

Arla Foods Ingredients is ready to deliver osteopontin to infant formula formulations.

Osteopontin (OPN), a key protein in human milk, is now available from Arla Foods Ingredients for commercial-scale processing in customers’ applications. Called LACPRODAN® OPN-10, it is the first product of its kind on the market.

Arla Foods Ingredients has worked closely with the University of Aarhus in Denmark to study and document the nutritional effects of OPN, which was first identified in bone tissue in 1985. Among the discoveries of the joint research is that human milk contains significantly more OPN than the bovine milk on which infant formula is typically based.
It has been suggested that OPN could be a significant missing link in producing infant formula with the ability to deliver similar immune protection to human milk, says Anders Steen Jørgensen, Arla Foods Ingredients nutrition manager.

In addition to infant formula applications, OPN may strengthen the immune system of other consumer groups and protect teeth against caries. It has also been tested in applications aimed at wound healing.

Patented process
Since its initial launch, Arla Foods Ingredients’ LACPRODAN® OPN-10 has only been available in laboratory-size units for customer application trials. Today a significant expansion in production capacity means that business partners can order OPN for use on commercial processing lines. A patented purification process means the small quantity of OPN in bovine milk can be refined to 95% purity.

It is still too early really to understand the market potential of OPN. Due to its versatility in a number of potential applications, a total production counted in only thousands of kilos and the low occurrence of OPN in milk may be the limiting factor, Anders Steen Jørgensen comments.

Initially OPN has been incorporated in infant formulas. As the bulk of documentation grows, this market alone could provide the basis for a further capacity expansion.
Arla Foods Ingredients will make a presentation on osteopontin at the 5th International Whey Conference WheyVolution to be held in Paris from 7-9 September.