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Information @ a Glance

  • Lactose is a sugar which is found most notably in milk. Lactose makes up around 28% of milk.
  • Its systematic name is β-D-galactopyranosyl-β-D-glucopyranose.
  • Lactose is a disaccharide that consists of β-D-galactose and β-D-glucose fragments bonded through a β1-4 glycosidic linkage.
  • Lactose is a carbohydrate and contributes approximately 4 calories per gram.
  • Lactose is commercially available as spray-dried lactose and crystalline lactose.
  • Lactose is a disaccharide carbohydrate which is only produced as part of the milk of mammals and as a storage carbohydrate in the seeds of a few plants.
  • Food-grade lactose is produced from fresh sweet whey by crystallizing an oversaturated solution of whey or permeate and drying it into a powder.
  •  Special processes of crystallization, grinding, fractionation and sifting produce types of lactose that differ from each other in particle size and distribution.
  • The first major application of lactose was as a Penicillium growth medium for the production of penicillin.
  • Today, lactose is widely used in the food and confectionery industries since it has a low sweetness (30% that of sucrose), binds flavours and aromas and increases the storage life of products.
  • Lactose is used in preparing baked goods as it will undergo the Maillard reaction with proteins and thus produce a browning effect.
  • As human milk contains 7% lactose , lactose is added to cow's milk in the preparation of infant formula.
  • Today, lactose is widely used in the food and confectionery industries since it has a low sweetness, binds flavours and aromas and increases the storage life of products.
  • α-lactose is also used for the production of various other compounds. These include lactitol (in diabetic products, low calorie sweeteners and slimming products), lactic acid (widely used in the food industry), and lactulose (a lactose isomer, used by the food industry).
  • Lactose derivatives such as lactulose, lactitol alongside galactooligosaccharides are showing interesting new application opportunities and significant annual growth rates.

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