ICOM: Inhibition and control of Maillard reactions in dairy foods by plant polyphenols

The project is investigating how the quality of dairy products can be improved using plant polyphenols – known as antioxidants – and how the reaction products formed between proteins and plant polyphenols are absorbed by the body and affect our intestinal flora.

Maillard reactions are a major problem for long-life dairy products, as these contain a lot of protein and sugar and typically undergo a high-heat treatment in the form of sterilisation or ultra-high temperature pasteurisation (UHT treatment). UHT is used to avoid bacterial growth and improve the shelf-life of the products. In order to achieve this improved shelf-life, the dairy products are pasteurised at 135-140 degrees for 3-4 seconds (as opposed to ordinary milk, which is pasteurised at 72 degrees for 15 seconds).

The high temperature creates the basis for an undesired Maillard process (browning effect) to be initiated. The process is sped up if the dairy products – for example, long-life milk – are later exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees and are stored for a long time. For example, if they are transported in ship containers in the baking sun, the temperature of the milk products can reach up to 70 degrees during transport. Maillard reactions degrade the quality of the milk, which becomes discoloured, has an inferior taste and loses important amino acids. Maillard reactions are also known from other foods and it is, for example, the same chemical reaction that causes bread in the oven and meat on the pan to smell and taste good. But in dairy products, the effects are mostly negative.





Funded by:

Project: ICOM - Inhibition and control of Maillard reactions in dairy foods by plant polyphenols
Period:  1st of January 2018 - 31st of December 2021
Grant donor: Danish Council for Independent Research
Grant: DKK 5,900,000