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Novozymes’ new lactase improves lactose-free dairy production

5 April 2016  •  Author(s): Victoria White

Novozymes has launched Saphera – a lactase enzyme that sets a new standard for production and quality of a wide range of lactose-free products, including milk and fermented dairy products such as yogurt.


Originated from Bifidobacterium bifidum, Novozymes says Saphera differs considerably from traditional lactases made from yeast, and is the first, major innovation in this growing industry for years.

With Saphera, the desired lactose level can be more precisely measured and easily reached. This is because less oligosaccharides – carbohydrates – are formed during the reaction compared to yeast lactases, particularly when producing 0.01% lactose-free milk.

“Saphera works at lower pH and higher temperature than other lactases and is therefore not only suitable for production of lactose-free milk and other products, but also for fermented dairy products,” explained Simon Lyndegaard, Director, Food Platforms & Strategic Development. “It works extremely well in yogurt production – better than conventional yeast-based lactases. In addition, the lack of invertase and other critical side activities makes Saphera a great solution in sweetened dairy products, maintaining physical and organoleptic properties during shelf life better than any other product on the market.”

Saphera reduces the amount of added sugars required in lactose-free products

Saphera converts lactose in dairy to galactose and glucose. This enables the dairy producer to reduce the amount of added sugars and still achieve the same degree of sweetness in lactose-free dairy products. This offers the dairy producer the opportunity for more attractive product labels with claims of reduced added sugar.

Lactose intolerance is a common condition. It is estimated that approximately 70% of the world population suffers from a degree of lactose intolerance. In addition, health-conscious consumers are increasingly demanding healthier “free-from” products, a trend that has moved lactose-free dairy products from being a specialty segment to mainstream and enabling dairies to address new, higher-margin markets that are growing at three or four times faster than the market for other dairy products. Novozymes hopes that Saphera will be utilised by manufacturers to tap into this increasingly lucrative market.

Simon Lyndegaard added: “As we launch this new lactase, Novozymes will continue to bring significant innovation to the dairy industry in close collaboration with our partners – helping find answers for better lives in a growing world.”

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