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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2013 13F477 NUIG (Teagasc) €507,244

Project Title:

Enzymatic generation of sialylated lactose from waste whey using marine-derived sialyltransferases

Project Coordinator:

Dr Michael Cairns

Project Abstract

Many biological functions have been attributed to sialylated human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which account for about 20% of all HMOs. These oligosaccharides can act as binding sites for specific pathogens and toxins, are thought to play a role in brain development and can regulate the immune response. However, the large amounts of HMOs which are required for clinical intervention are unavailable. Although many of these same MOs are present in bovine milk their levels are very low. This project therefore focuses on alternative sources and methods of producing two major sialylated HMOs, 3’ and 6’sialyllactose. Sialylated derivatives of oligosaccharides are difficult to prepare using chemical synthesis methods. Common practice is to adopt an enzyme reaction for this modification. However, existing commercial purified enzymes are prohibitively expensive. In order to up-scale production, it is necessary to produce inexpensive enzymes that can convert lactose to sialyllactose. Enzymes derived from marine bacteria and marine animal sources will be exploited. Lactose is a waste product in whey permeate, a by-product obtained during cheese whey processing. The process will be up-scaled to produce high yields of the sialylated oligosaccharides which will be in turn assessed for activity using bioassays already developed in house.

Final Report: