Effect of processing on digestion & immunogenicity of proteins in infant nutrition

Effect of processing on digestion & immunogenicity of proteins in infant nutrition






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Dairy products for infants are always heated as part of their production. This heating may induce structural and chemical modifications to the milk proteins. This may affect the digestibility of the milk proteins, as well as the ensuing immunological response.
There is thus a need to better understand how milk processing affects the functionality of milk proteins, using improved tools to monitor both digestion and immune response.

Doel van het project

Overall, the project has the following targets:
1) Tools to estimate the effect of the food matrix (lipids and carbohydrates) and thermal processing of milk proteins in infant formula with respect to digestibility and immunogenicity
2) Insights in the impact of thermal processes on proteins for infant nutrition, to improve processing for an optimal immune response
3) Identification of processing-induced markers for proteins that can serve as a biomarker for immunological effects
4) Development of new MRI markers to monitor gastric protein digestion in vivo

Relatie met missie (Motivatie)

Better understanding of the relation between processing of dairy proteins and its digestibility and immunological impact thus have the following benefits:
- improved nutritional quality for infants of milk protein containing products
- induce an optimal immune response, including immunological tolerance, towards these milk protein containing products for infants
- improved heating processes in the dairy industry, aiming at reducing protein modifications, to achieve this optimal immune response
- better understanding how other components in the food matrix impact protein modifications, which may guide companies to optimize recipes to ensure optimal digestibility and immunogenicity.
Thereby, this project is contributing to the overall mission of “healthy nutrition”.

Geplande acties

1) Make an infant formula model system (2020). Quantitative overview of the effect of different processing conditions on dairy protein modifications, and the ensuing effect this has on the protein digestibility in infants of different ages (2021-2022)
2) Determine the relation between the presence of processed induced protein modifications and their immunological relevance, to determine which protein characteristics are responsible for specific immunological responses (2021-2023).
3) NMR & MRI markers for gastric digestion of proteins (2020-2021), in-vivo data (from both MRI & gastric aspirates) that can be compared to confirm the findings from the in-vitro digestion results (2022-2023)