Characterization of Oligosaccharides in Bovine Milk vs Alternatives

Field Testing

RESEARCHER: Daniela Barile, UC Davis

TIMELINE: 2 Years, January 2023 – December 2024

BACKGROUND: Plant-based non-dairy beverage alternatives represent a fast-growing segment in new food product development, driven by the perception of consumers that plant products are more sustainable than animal-sourced ones. Although plant-based beverages are presented to consumers as dietary alternatives to cow’s milk, they are not interchangeable with respect to their nutritional properties. In fact, milk, with its complexity of bioactive molecules, provides substantial health benefits that likely cannot be replicated by plant-based beverages. Non-dairy beverages produced from almond, oats, soy, and peas are increasingly popular in California and are known to also contain some oligosaccharides.

OBJECTIVES: To recover oligosaccharides from bovine milk and non-dairy alternatives to generate sufficient amounts for further investigations. To characterize and quantify recovered oligosaccharides from dairy and non-dairy alternatives by advanced mass spectrometry. To compare in vitro functional activity of all purified oligosaccharides: investigating their anti-inflammatory and antiviral activity. To demonstrate the unique nature of milk bioactives in comparison to non-dairy milk alternatives.

INDUSTRY BENEFIT: The results from this work will aid in building a positive image for dairy products by displaying the beneficial activities of milk oligosaccharides which are simply not replicated in alternative dairy-free products. Another expected impact is to help the industry to increase or maintain the market demands for dairy products by demonstrating the unique health and nutrition benefits of dairy products, compared to competitive products that impact the demand and market share