DuPont demonstrates leadership and innovation in the field of early life nutrition

Published: 8-Jul-2020

New studies and regulatory filings propel DuPont to the forefront of human milk oligosaccharides commercialisation

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences recently released the findings of a first-time new study showing the effects Care4U 2’-FL had on dental caries-associated bacterium Streptococcus mutans.

Previously, HMOs have not been studied for their effects on oral bacteria, but as HMOs are increasingly being added to infant formula, it is important to evaluate effects on oral microflora and potential impact on oral health.

“Human milk is known to contain factors that protect against caries, so we were interested to know how HMOs, and especially 2’-FL, affect S. mutans, one of the most studied bacteria related to dental caries, said Johanna Hirvonen, PhD, Senior Scientist, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

“This study was a collaboration between University of Turku, Institute of Dentistry and DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences. We evaluated the ability of S. mutans to grow on 2’-fucosyllactose (2’-FL) in comparison to galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose and xylitol."

"The effects of 2’-FL, GOS, lactose and xylitol on adhesion properties of S. mutans were also evaluated. Although this study was done under in vitro conditions, it showed the differences between the studied carbohydrates, especially in S. mutans growth.”

“Though it is known that S. mutans can metabolise many carbon sources, we found that S. mutans was unable to grow on 2’-FL, while it grew well on GOS and lactose. Xylitol, as known before, reduced the growth of S. mutans,” added Krista Salli, MSc, Scientist, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

“Thus, the data suggests that addition of 2’-FL to infant formula would not support the growth of S. mutans. The results highlight the selectivity of 2’-FL consumption by oral bacteria.”

Adhesion to tooth surfaces is the first requirement for a biofilm — dental plaque–formation, 2’-FL decreased the adhesive properties of some of the studied S. mutans strains. In infancy, oral microbiota develops and delays colonisation of potentially pathogenic bacteria is vital. DuPont is expanding on this line of research with other oral bacteria and additional HMOs.

Regulatory update: our new HMO, 3-FL

In addition to the exciting research being conducted on Care4U 2’-FL, DuPont recognises the need to continue to bridge the nutritional gap in infant formula. The next most abundant HMO in human milk after 2’-FL, and soon to be commercialised by DuPont, is 3-fucosyllactose (3-FL).

This HMO is present in human milk of all mothers and is unique in that levels have been reported to increase during lactation, contrary to 2’FL that decreases during lactation. Initial in vitro research demonstrates that in addition to being bifidogenic, this HMO is effective in reducing colon motor contractions and inhibits bacterial adhesion. Further research is needed to confirm clinical benefits.

A scientific expert panel has recently concluded that DuPont’s newest HMO, Care4U 3-FL HMO, is Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) for use in various applications including formulas intended for infants and young children, other foods and beverages consumed by toddlers younger than 3 years as well as foods for the general population.

The FDA has been notified of DuPont’s GRAS conclusion. In October 2019, DuPont submitted a novel food application with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to obtain market authorisation in the EU for 3-FL. These regulatory developments demonstrate the steady progression of DuPont’s investment and commitment to HMOs.

Paving the path forward: new applications

As we continue to move forward with our new research and commercialisation of novel ingredients in Early Life Nutrition, we need to be assured that there is a method for the robust quantification of these two compounds in the applications that they are used in.

Recent published research by DuPont demonstrated that a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method is available that allows researchers and formulators to analyse the amount of 2’-FL and 3-FL in a range of food products and quickly and efficiently perform shelf-life studies in these food applications.

This is a major step forward for manufacturers interested in to developing high quality, efficacious nutritional products for early life nutrition and beyond.

“At DuPont, we’re excited to continue our innovation in Early Life Nutrition with HMOs and probiotics to support healthy growth and development during infancy,” stated Ratna Mukherjea, PhD, Technical Fellow and Global Research and Development Leader, Human Milk Oligosaccharides, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

“Further, the health benefits of HMOs and probiotics can be extended beyond infant nutrition to that of adult nutrition and dietary supplements.”

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