Nestec patents improved route to GMP ingredient

Related tags Gmp Milk Nutrition

Nestec of Switzerland, a subsidiary of food giant Nestle, has been
awarded a US patent on a new way of producing the whey protein
glycomacropeptide (GMP) that could open up its use as an ingredient
in pharmaceuticals, dental compositions and foods.

GMP has already found a place as a premium health ingredient in nutraceutical products, but its use has been limited by a lengthy and cumbersome extraction process that has made it difficult to produce on a commercial scale.

Now, Nestec has a patented​ method of extracting GMP from milk or sweet whey that could make its large-scale production more economically feasible, producing the ingredient at a purity that would be suitable for use in pharmaceutical preparations, from a single treatment, and at high yield.

Nestec's process includes a step of treating a lactic raw material containing GMP - such as cow's milk - in the presence of a weakly anionic resin. The GMP is selectively adsorbed onto the resin and then eluted from it so as to obtain an improved protein product.

Aside from its generally favourable nutritional qualities - GMP has a well-balanced amino acid profile that makes it of interest as an ingredient in infant formula for example - it also has functional properties that could be of interest in pharmaceuticals.

For example, GMP can suppress appetite via stimulation of the pancreatic hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) release, it alters pigment production in melanocytes, acts as a prebiotic (encouraging the growth of benefical bacteria in the gut) and has immunomodulatory activity.

The former activity has already sparked interest in its use in combination with pharmacological treatments for obesity, such as Roche's pancreatic lipase inhibitor Xenical (orlistat). It has also been proposed as an ingredient that can help defend teeth from caries, and provide protection against toxins, bacteria, and viruses.

Meanwhile, as an added bonus, Nestec's treatment process also yields a liquid that has a reduced threonine content and elevated levels of tryptophan and other aromatic amino acids. This liquid material could be useful in an infant or dietetic product as a protein raw material, in a pharmaceutical composition in combination with antithrombotic, antidiarrheal or antibacterial agents, or in a food composition as an emulsifying, gelling or foaming agent.

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