BASF launches HMO ingredient as it gears up for competition in infant formula

GERMANY – BASF plans to launch a human milk oligosaccharide ingredient 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL) by early 2019, accelerating its presence in infant formula even as manufacturers upgrade to large scale production to meet consumer demand.

2’-FL was developed in-house using a specific HMO fermentation strain and is said to be beneficial to infant gut microbiota and immune development.

It is the most abundant oligosaccharide in the group of about 200 HMOs identified in human milk and consists of 20-30% of the total HMO content, with a concentration 300 times higher in human milk compared to cow’s milk.

It joins a number of suppliers such as FrieslandCampina DOMO, Jennewein and DuPont in the market where product launches based on the ingredient are eminent.

“The HMO composition of human milk is complex and varies significantly among mothers, over the course of lactation and according to genetic set-up,” a spokesperson for BASF commented.

“The HMO concentration in early milk is highest and it declines about 30% over the course of lactation.

In mature human milk, the content may still be as high as 5 – 20 grams per litre (g/l).

“The window of opportunity for microbiota modulation during early life starts in the prenatal phase and persists postnatally, when breast-feeding plays the most important role.”

2’-FL also represents a key ingredient in BASF’s human nutrition brand Newtrition whose offerings commit to infant nutrition with possibilities of featuring dietary supplements in the near future.

Greenlight for largescale production

The European Commission granted novel food approval for the milk oligosaccharide ingredient 2’ FL, something that has starred large scale production and several product launches by manufacturers.

BASF said 2’ FL and Lacto-N-neotetraose ((LNnT) remains to be the only two HMOs to be successfully commercialised.

FrieslandCampina Domo received Novel Food approval in the EU for its HMO 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL) in March, joining fellow formula manufacturers DuPont Nutrition and Health.

HMOs were not available in larger quantities from sources such as cow’s milk due to the complex structure of HMOs that required dedicated production technologies.

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