Milk is a very rich source of lactose, which causes lactose intolerance to over 70% of adult population globally. Lactose intolerance affects people of all ethnicities/races. Lactose content determination for product labeling purposes is critical owing to the serious nature of lactose intolerance.
For instance, Virtual Medical Center indicates the following:
Primary lactose intolerance affects between 7 to 20% Caucasians, 65 to 75% African descent, 90% in certain Asian populations and about 70% Australian/Aboriginal populations.
Putting these figures into perspective can be very depressing, especially when considering dairy products as a means to fight world hunger and malnutrition.
Increasingly, many people are pushing for dairy products with reduced lactose content. Through technology, several advances have been made.
For instance, fermented products such as yoghurt and cheeses have proven very popular. This is because they do not elicit similar reactions as fresh milk in people with lactose intolerance.
A similar story cannot be said about fluid milk. Fluid milk forms the bulk of dairy products consumed globally by volume.
But there is a problem,
Fluid milk naturally has high content of lactose making it unsuitable for many who are lactose intolerant.
Determination of lactose content is usually a tedious process involving a series of meticulous steps. The process is often expensive and time consuming. Most labs do not have the sophisticated equipment required for these tests (HPLC or GC) hence many processors often opt out.
There needs to be a cheap, accurate and reproducible method of determining and controlling the lactose content in fluid milk and other dairy products.
Luckily, there is a new rapid and relatively cheap lactose content determination method that can be adopted for both industrial and artisanal use.
LACTOSENS® Assay: A computerized rapid, accurate and cheaper lactose content determination method for dairy products.
Imagine, if you could measure the precise residual lactose level in your dairy products in real-time – at every stage of production and with a sensitivity of 0.01%.
LACTOSENS®, based on amperometric biosensor technology, is the ideal solution for process monitoring and quality control. It provides a quick and efficient route to market and shortening lead times in the booming lactose-free segment.
With the globalization of dairy markets, “lactose-free” has become a solution to meet the needs of over 70% of the world’s population!
Infants are born with the ability to produce lactase, but with increasing age the production of lactase reduces or ceases.
In order to avoid inconveniences resulting from lactose non-digestion, many consumers are turning to “lactose-free” dairy products. This allows them to commonly use milk as an important source of protein, minerals and vitamins.
With this increasing importance of “lactose-free” products, the relevant threshold for “lactose-free” labeling has been revised from the former 0.1g/ml to the more stringent standard of 0.01g/ml.
This readjustment to the lower threshold is aimed at people with severe lactose intolerance. The adjustment presents even a bigger challenge for dairies. Existing methods for precise control and verification of a 0.01% lactose threshold are quite laborious, slow and expensive, especially when not executed in-house.
Thus, dairies may have to wait for days to get a result for product release – or release batches based on “typical” results. This means such dairies will not have traceable batch-specific concentration data available for all productions.
Accuracy: How LACTOSENS® compares with HPLC.
The LACTOSENS® 0.01% assay – recently validated against HPLC – here opens a unique access for dairies and even processing dairy farmers to a fast and precise method for lactose concentration measurement.
The test involves a direct assay on a biochip that very specifically measures lactose in mere minutes in milk and dairy products as yogurt, sour cream, fresh cheese and mozzarella.
The graph below shows how the accuracy of LactoSens compares to the HPLC for lactose content determination.
The Working Principle of LACTOSENS® Assay
What’s the secret functional principle of this fast and precise LACTOSENS® biosensor?
Here is how it works.
- 100μl of the diluted sample is applied to the disposable test strip so that the circular sensor area carrying the immobilized enzyme is completely covered with sample.
- The electrochemical measurement is based on a principle known in science as amperometry:
- During the measurement, lactose in the sample is oxidized by the highly specific, genetically optimized enzyme to lactobionic acid (a sugar acid – disaccharide – of gluconic acid and galactose). The electrons resulting from the oxidation are measured directly by the potential-active LACTOSENS® reader.
- Finally, the software transmits the analytical signal according to the calibration function into a lactose concentration.
You can check out the LactoSens product documentation for more details.
How to operate the LACTOSENS® machine for lactose content determination in dairy products
The video below illustrates how LACTOSENS® machine is used to determine the lactose content of dairy products
Certification by NordVal International
The LACTOSENS® trace analysis detection is so precise, that the NordVal International Institute of the Technical University of Denmark has certified the LACTOSENS® biosensor – in the sensitive range between 0.1% and 0.008% – as equivalent to the lactose reference method HPLC:
The high-performance liquid chromatography requires expensive equipment and qualified personnel.
Control studies were done at two ISO 17025 accredited laboratories. The results validated the LACTOSENS® biosensor against the HPLC method in ruggedness, specificity of detection, stability testing and batch-to-batch variation (traceability), limit of quantification, precision and internal reproducibility (reliability).
This NordVal validation study confirms the LACTOSENS® biosensor as unique rapid lactose test. It detects lactose at levels of 0.008% and produces comparable results to the HPLC method.
You can find the NordVal Certificate for LACTOSENS® here.
10 Justifications for dairies to adopt LACTOSENS® assay:
- IMMEDIATE: Release your products promptly as soon as in-house testing confirms the lactose concentration is at the claimed level.
- RAPID: The measurement process completed in less than one minute and fast product release save both labour time and money.
- TRACEABLE: Document low lactose or lactose-free claims for every batch produced. Protect your brand by enhancing traceability. This guarantee will solidify the trust your customers have in your brand hence better quality relationships.
- EASY TO USE: There are very low training requirements – no special skills are needed. A permanent on-screen guide leads the analyst through the process.
- SPECIFIC: There is no interference from other sugars, such as glucose or galactose. This is because high-selectivity biosensor is used in the equipment.
- ACCURATE: LACTOSENS® has a high sensitivity and detects residual lactose levels lower than 0.01%. Furthermore, lactose is directly measured instead of its decomposition products.
- RELIABLE: LACTOSENS® is the only lactose rapid test validated against the HPLC reference method. The comparison to HPLC in terms of accuracy and reproducibility up to 0.008% lactose has been certified. Therefore, LACTOSENS® can easily be integrated into any quality management system.
- FLEXIBLE: No initial preparation and calibration of the biosensor is necessary: As a portable handy device, LACTOSENS® is always ready for use and connectable with any notebook.
- BROAD APPLICATION RANGE: LACTOSENS® works with a broad range of lactose-free and low lactose dairy samples like milk, cream, yoghurt, fresh cheese, mozzarella.
- DAIRY EXPERT SUPPORT: The Chr. Hansen dairy team is always on hand to provide advice – wherever in the world you may be.
What the experts are saying about LACTOSENS®:
‘Lactosens is ideal for both process control and product release in the dairy industries,’ explains Jes Jensen, Director of Testing and Equipment at Chr. Hansen. ‘It is the fastest and easiest method available, revolutionizing the way in which the dairy industry analyzes lactose.’
How to Get the LACTOSENS® Machine
All customer orders from different parts of the world are fulfilled through Chr. Hansen exclusively. Chr, Hansen is a leading well-known dairy specialist with sufficient sales force and offices covering all global markets.
You can get in touch with them to inquire about LACTOSENS® https://www.chr-hansen.com/en/contact.