Development of functional dairy products enriched by plant extracts



This technology describes innovative process of extracting novel plant functional ingredients. The ingredients will offer benefits for both human health and dairy product features.

Technology Description

The main idea of the proposed project would be to examine the possibility of creating functional dairy products such as fermented milk, whey beverage or fresh type cheese enriched by adding plant extract as novel functional ingredients. Over the past two decades, a special attention has been payed to examine composition, properties and possible application of various plant materials. The application of plant extracts for target enrichment of foods with biologically active molecules (BAM) such as polyphenols or flavonoids belongs to currently most investigated areas of biotechnology and food technology. Besides acting beneficiary to human health, there is a growing number of evidence on antimicrobial activity of plant extracts, which results in intense investigations of possible application for shelf life extension of foods.

Within this project olive leaf extract and Moringa oleifera extract would be tested for production of functional fermented milks, fresh type cheeses and whey beverages.

Main advantages

The addition of olive leaf extract and/or Moringa oleifera extract would be tested in the production of caw and goat milk yogurt, and the main benefits would be as follows:

  • Improved nutritional quality by adding sources of bioactive components such as phenolic, which do not naturally occur in milk, as well as to improve sensory properties;
  • Improving overall acceptance and nutritional profile of goat milk yoghurts and other goat milk products;

Extending limited shelf life caused to high amount of water and presence of nutrients that favour microbial growth, especially growth of yeast and moulds.

Stage of development

Currently, the process parameters of accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) for production of olive leaf extract have been optimized in lab scale. Besides, in our recent research activities, the addition of thyme and elderberry flower extracts have been tested in the production of fresh type cheese from raw cow milk. Promising results were obtained in relation to enrichment of cheese by polyphenols, enhancing its ant oxidative properties and prolonging its shelf life.

Accordingly, in the first stage of the proposed project plant extracts will be produced by accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) at high pressure by applying earlier established process parameters. The obtained extracts will be analyzed for ant oxidative activity and the total phenolic content, and extracts showing the highest values of these parameters will be selected for further investigations. Subsequently the production of functional dairy products enriched by different amounts of olive leaf or Moringa olifeira extracts will be optimized.

Challenge and needs

The growing health consciousness of modern consumers as well as their concerns related to potentially harmful effects of conventionally used food preservatives lead to frequent demands for minimally processed, natural foods that should also have a beneficial effect to the human health and well-being. Accordingly, the food industry is making many efforts in creating such foods in order to comply with the consumers' demands. In line with that, the environmental aspect is increasingly being taken into consideration as well, why the current trends in the area of food science research are intensively being focused on finding novel solutions for valorization of byproducts in order to reduce the generated food waste but also to enhance production efficiency and profit.

Intellectual property

There is no intellectual property related to the proposed technology.

Potential markets and targets

Proposed project solution could find its application in several global markets such as Functional Food Ingredients Market, Dairy Ingredients Market, Protective Cultures Market:

  • The global functional food ingredients market was valued at USD 64.75 billion in 2017; and it is predicted to reach USD 94.21 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 6.6% during the forecast period.
  • The global dairy ingredients market was valued at USD 47.65 billion in 2016 and it is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 5.61% from 2017, in order to reach USD 66.11 billion by 2022.
  • The global protective culture market is estimated to account for a value of USD 101.1 million in 2018 and it is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 23.6% from 2018, to reach a value of USD 292.1 million by 2023.

Potential partners

Potential partners that could co-develop this technology (proposed project idea), are mainly dairy industry sector participants who are devoted to development and production of functional dairy products.

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