Discovering the Bioactivity of Milk Fat Globules from Dairy Streams

Baby eating from bottle

RESEARCHER: Daniela Barile, UC Davis

TIMELINE: January 2021 to May 2022

BACKGROUND: A main compositional gap between infant formula and human milk is in the lipids — formulas use a blend of vegetable oils. At the same time, many dairy processors have optimized Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) production by including an additional microfiltration step, which retains lipids that escaped the previous cream separation step. The co-product, Whey Protein Phospholipid Concentrate (WPPC), aka ProCream is, to date, heavily undervalued both economically and for its potential benefits to human health. Ongoing work (funded by National Dairy Council and CDRF) identified ProCeam as a source of both bioactive glycoproteins and Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) – which are compounds with many potential gut and brain benefits.

OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate novel ingredients that can be extracted at scale from whey co-products. In vivo testing of ProCream in a mouse model to determine its effects on gut health, function, and protection against
systemic inflammation.

INDUSTRY BENEFIT: This work will identify novel uses for a dairy co-product that is currently valued at less than 1$/lb. This work will demonstrate the value of ProCream as an added-value ingredient. The in vivo study, coupled with comprehensive compositional analysis of ProCream will provide a greater mechanistic understanding of the beneficial effects of milk as a whole and its component parts, for the ability to address a variety of disorders marked by poor gut health.