UQ innovation: probiotic juice and omega-3 milk

Monday, 05 March, 2012

A $250,000 Commercialisation Australia grant is helping researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) commercialise a food processing technique that will enable juice, milk and other dairy products to be fortified with probiotics and omega-3.

Progel is developing a range of functional milk and juice products with levels of probiotics and omega-3 not currently available in any milk or food products. The technology uses only safe food ingredients such as alginate, which is derived from sustainably harvested seaweed.

Professor Bhesh Bhandari from UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences invented the technique, which is being developed by the newly formed Progel, a company started by UQ’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest.

“Adding probiotics to commonly consumed products like milk and juice can improve gut health and digestion, and help lessen the effects of lactose intolerance for milk consumers. However, these products with probiotics tend to go sour within days,” explained Professor Bhandari.

“Meanwhile, residual smell and taste are common in food products fortified with fish-based omega-3 oils, even though existing products only have small amounts and therefore fewer health benefits.

“Products made possible by the Progel technology will bring the many health benefits of probiotics and omega-3 to consumers who do not regularly consume dairy products. Progel ingredients also include calcium, giving juices many of the benefits of dairy products, such as yoghurt.

“The key advantage of Progel ingredients is that they don’t affect the quality, taste or smell of the milk, and products containing the Progel encapsulation technology can offer sufficient levels of active nutrients to provide a beneficial source of probiotics and omega-3 to consumers,” Professor Bhandari said.

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