Lactose monohydrate is an organic compound with the chemical formula C12H22O11. It is crystalline form of milk powder. It is employed as an pharmaceutical filler for the production of capsules and tablets. Lactose monohydrate is also known as milk sugar in the industry as it is a disaccharide sugar obtained from galactose and glucose found in milk. Lactose monohydrate appears as a white solid powder or pale yellow crystalline solid with a specific odor identical to milk. Lactose monohydrate is soluble in water. It is synthesized industrially through a two step process. First step involves crystallization of lactose solution by cooling to form crystals. Second step involves segregation of lactose crystals by centrifugation followed by drying. Lactose monohydrate has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in controlled quantities as an additive in edible products.
Lactose monohydrate finds application in a wide array of foods, beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and animal feed. Lactose monohydrate has been found to have a bland flavor and is utilized as a stabilizer for formulations. It has a longer shelf-life and is cheaper than real milk. Lactose monohydrate is primarily used as an additive in the formulation of several pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, foods and beverages. It is often used in tablets capsules, ready-mix infant formulas, chocolates, biscuits, ready-to-make foods, candies, ice-cream and bread and bakery products to enhance aroma and flavor. Lactose monohydrate is used in pharmaceuticals and animal feed as a filler because of its physical and chemical stability. Additionally, Lactose monohydrate is easy to mix with other ingredients and does not absorb water. Cheaper prices and longer shelf-life are the key benefits of using Lactose monohydrate. It is the most commonly available and most widely utilized milk sugar because of its stabilizing effect and easy solubility with water.
The lactose monohydrate market is mainly driven by its demand from the pharmaceuticals and food and beverages industry. Additionally, increasing adoption of cosmetics is expected to further boost demand for lactose monohydrate in the near future. However, availability of substitutes and shift towards natural ingredients in food may hamper market growth. New products developed with lactose monohydrate as an ingredient may bring prospective opportunities for future demand growth.
Geographically, Asia Pacific is estimated to be the key consumer as well as producer of lactose monohydrate. Key industrial economies including India, South Korea, Japan and China are the major markets for lactose monohydrate for utility in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industry as an additive. High population growth and increasing purchase power parity, in China and India specifically, is likely to lead growth of demand for lactose monohydrate. Europe is another key market for lactose monohydrate in food industry and as an additive in infant formula. European Commission has approved use of lactose monohydrate in infant formula and for food supplements in older children. Demand growth for lactose monohydrate in North America is estimated to be driven by pharmaceuticals and food and beverages industry. Animal feed is also an attractive market segment in this region. In rest of the world Africa and Latin America have a high potential for growth due to the high growth of the pharmaceuticals industry and food and beverage industry.
Some of the market players include Sheffield Bio-Science Ltd., Lactose India Ltd., Hummel Croton Inc., Mallinckrodt Baker Inc. Meggle Group and Merck Millipore among others.
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