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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2010 10RDTMFRC708 Teagasc (NUIG) €254,513

Project Title:

Targeting the glycome of the milk fat globule membrane for anti- infective properties

Project Coordinator:

Dr Rita Hickey

Project Abstract

The glycoproteins in MFGM are thought to act as specific bacterial and viral ligands which, when in the stomach of infants, contribute to the prevention of pathogenic organisms attaching to the intestinal mucosa. The extreme diversity of the glycosylated structures found in MFGM e.g. Mucin 15, is thought to enable the glycoproteins to perform this function in the acidic environment of the stomach. These glycans have homology with epithelial mucus cell surface pathogen receptors in the stomach and intestine and may inhibit infection by competitively binding with the pathogens and clearing them from the infant gut. Therefore, this project aims to investigate the anti-infective nature of the bovine MFGM glycome under circumstances where milk processes induce protein denaturation and complexation with MFGM coated milk fat globules which following ingestion are subject to acidic pH and possible proteolysis before eventual de-emulsification. Hence, a secondary objective is to determine whether alteration to MFGM structure has an effect on their anti-infective behaviour. Glycosylated fractions will be collected after various processing steps and digestion using a simulated gastric model. High through-put array technology developed by NUIG will be employed to pre-screen these fractions for anti-infective activity against a range of gastrointestinal pathogens. Fractions displaying bioactivity will be examined at Moorepark where in recent years, optimisation of a number of versatile bioassays for testing the effects of sialyl oligosaccharides on pathogen adhesion to human intestinal cells have been developed. Subsequent scale up initially as an active ingredient, and later when formulated in a prototype beverages in this project will allow their activity be validated using in vivo efficacy trials in a follow on study.

Final Report:

Final Report 10RDTMFRC708 (pdf 250Kb)