CSIRO invests $1.2 million in making infant formulas more nutritional

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd August 2011

Leading Australian scientists based at the CSIRO are working with the Australian ingredients manufacturer, Clover Corporation Limited, to improve the nutritional content of infant formulas.

They are developing a better understanding of how nutritional bioactives can be combined in the milk formulas with natural essential Omega 3 fatty acid DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). The aim is to improve the ability of infants to absorb bioactive ingredients that can boost the immune system of the infant.

CSIRO’s research team leader Luz Sanguansri said, “While natural breast milk is the gold standard, when infant formulas are needed to supplement or replace it, those formulas need to be as close to the real thing as possible. Many of the bioactive components of breast milk are not stable and their inclusion in infant formula is not straightforward.”

Ms Sanguansri said there were also a number of scientific and technical hurdles to overcome before DHA and bioactives can be added to infant formulas.

“DHA is complex, fragile and is only found in significant amounts in a few foods so, we need to be able to protect, stabilise and deliver the DHA,” Ms Sanguansri said.

“We need to protect the bioactives of interest during the manufacture of the ingredient powder by Clover Corporation and during the manufacture of the infant formula by the many major global manufacturers they supply. It needs to remain stable from the time it’s manufactured, right up until it’s prepared in the home.

“Finally we need to be sure that these bioactives reach the right part of the infant’s digestive tract, so that benefits for development and immune function are maximized,” Ms Sanguansri said.

Clover Corporation Limited, through its subsidiary Nu-Mega Ingredients Pty Ltd, is a leading international supplier of microencapsulated ingredients such as Omega-3 DHA and other beneficial bioactive nutrients.

CSIRO is providing A$1.2 million in finance for the three-year research program through its Australian Growth Partnership program, designed to provide capital to high-potential small to medium size enterprises aligned with CSIRO’s Flagship programs.