Food & Supplements

Most Recent Inventions

Creating ‘Designer’ Yeast Hybrids for Brewing and More

UW–Madison researchers have developed HyPr, a simple and efficient method for generating synthetic Saccharomyces hybrids without sporulation or modification of the nuclear genome.

Specifically, using the new method, induction of HO endonuclease expression by a promoter in two diploid cultures, followed by co-culture and subsequent double-drug selection, will produce hybrids at a rate approaching 1 out of 1,000 cells plated. Plasmids can then be easily cured or spontaneously lost to produce strains without genome modifications.

The resulting strains can be rapidly screened for plasmid loss, opening an efficient route towards meeting the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA.

Improving Storage Life of Meat Substitutes

UW–Madison researchers have developed the use of certain natural substances to prevent oxidation of plant hemoglobin (Hb) and prolong the shelf life of meat substitutes. Their method includes specific concentrations of small molecules that react with plant heme proteins to reduce spoilage.

For example, the selected small molecule fits in the distal heme pocket of the plant Hb and will bind to the iron atom of the heme moiety. This results in better color stability and allows the meat analog to retain a red color mimicking raw hamburger. This binding to the heme-iron will also likely prevent oxidation of lipids, thereby protecting the flavor of the product during refrigerated and frozen storage.

“Natural” Antioxidants Prolong Storage Life of Meat

UW–Madison researchers have discovered an unexpected synergy between phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and rosemary extract, which can be used in combination to prolong the storage life of virtually any meat – including fish, fowl, pork and red meat as well as vegetarian meat analogs containing added protein heme. Even at very low concentrations (i.e., half the amount of rosemary used commercially today), the combination may inhibit lipid oxidation in all types of raw meat products.

Concentrating Dairy Proteins

UW–Madison researchers have developed negatively charged ultrafiltration membranes for improved concentration of milk casein, whey and serum dairy proteins.

The membranes are fabricated from commercial membranes having pore sizes traditionally thought to be too large. The surface of the membrane is modified to permanently attach a negative charge that repels proteins. Taken together, the increased pore size allows higher permeability of liquid through the membrane while the negative charge helps prevent protein loss. The negative surface also is antifouling, making cleaning easier and more sustainable.

Most Recent Patents

Production of Milk Protein Concentrate with Energy and Environmental Savings and Reduced Equipment Needs

UW–Madison researchers have developed a novel approach for removing lactose from skim milk and other dried milk-derived products that reduces energy use and environmental impact. First, milk is concentrated under conditions that encourage the growth of large lactose crystals. The mixture is spray dried to form a powder, which contains small aggregates of proteins mixed with small molecules and large lactose crystals. The mixture then is sorted by particle size in a high speed air classifier, which uses an air stream and centrifugal forces to separate particles by shape, size and density. This method will produce a product with the same chemical and physical characteristics as moderately fortified milk protein concentrate, as well as a co-product with increased lactose content.

Preen Oil: The Nutritional Approach to Chronic Inflammation

UW–Madison researchers have developed methods of using preen oil as a food supplement to treat chronic inflammation in human and non-human animals, birds and fish.

Preen oil may be given orally as a pharmaceutical composition, added to human food products or included in animal, bird or fish food. The fatty acids in the oil accumulate in tissues where they inhibit the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and IL-6 and reduce chronic inflammation, including chronic joint inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

Consumer-Friendly Test for Detecting Very Small Amounts of Bacteria or Other Cells

UW–Madison researchers have developed a novel method for detecting very low levels of bacteria or other cells. In this method, which is suitable for over-the-counter use by consumers, the aggregation of nanoparticles indicates the absence of the target, rather than the presence of the target as in commercially available tests.

The method uses a bifunctional linker. One portion of the linker binds to a target, while a second portion facilitates aggregation of nanoparticles. When the linker is bound to the target, little nanoparticle aggregation occurs. When the target is absent, the linker is available to facilitate aggregation of the nanoparticles. This aggregation can be observed through visual or other means, providing a simple yet sensitive method for detecting pathogenic microorganisms.