Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a natural component of milkfat exhibits several health promoting attributes, including protection against cancer, heart disease and obesity, diet-related diseases that contribute significantly to EU health-care costs. To confer the potential health benefits of CLA to humans, foods rich in CLA should be consumed. This project aims to develop dairy-based functional foods enriched in CLA, and evaluate their efficacy in humans. CLA enriched foods will be manufactured at pilot and commercial scales from CLA-enriched milk, to be obtained following the identification of animal feeding and management strategies suitable for bovine, ovine and caprine species, and secondly, following the development of dairy-fermentation based processes using selected CLA-producing food-grade strains. This project will have a positive impact on health of EU consumers, EU milk producers and the EU functional foods industry.
The objective of the project is to derive natural, consumer-acceptable strategies and processing systems to produce CLA-enhanced dairy foods of proven safety and quality. This will be achieved by co-ordinated metabolic, nutritional and technological studies involving milk production in the bovine, ovine and caprine species and through exploitation of CLA producing food-grade cultures. Both detailed and large-scale animal experiments will be conducted with lactating dairy cows, goats and sheep, leading to the identification of animal feeding and management strategies appropriate to a range of geographical regions and dairy systems throughout the EU. High quality dairy-based functional foods enriched in CLA, manufactured from the resulting milk and using bioactive cultures with CLA-biosynthetic capabilities, will be evaluated in studies with animals and healthy humans to establish their safety and efficacy. Effects of consumption of the CLA-enriched functional foods on CLA status and lipid metabolism in healthy humans will be established. Consumption of CLA-rich foods is likely to confer health benefits on humans, given the health promoting properties attributed to dietary CLA, including reduction in cancers, such as skin, stomach and breast cancer, and reduction of the risk of heart disease and obesity.
The scientific objectives are:
- To elucidate the biological mechanisms of CLA production in lactating ruminants and in bacteria;
- To evaluate the contribution of added intestinal microbes to mammalian CLA status;
- To assess the impact of CLA-enriched fats on stability and quality in dairy food systems;
- To assess the impact of consuming CLA-enriched dairy products on human health parameters.
- To enrich CLA in milk products, by identification of animal feeding and management strategies for production of CLA-enriched milk appropriate to a range of geographical regions and dairy systems, and through exploitation of CLA producing cultures;
- To develop stable CLA-enriched food products of acceptable sensory properties;
- To assess safety and potential efficacy of naturally produced CLA-enriched dairy products in humans - demonstration of improvement of the raw material and product.
- Elucidation of mechanisms of CLA biosynthesis in lactating ruminants and in microbes;
- Effective animal feeding and management strategies for sustainable production of CLA-enriched milk appropriate to a range of geographical regions and dairy systems;
- Stable CLA-enriched dairy products with good sensory attributes produced;
- Identification of the contribution of added intestinal CLA producing bioactive cultures to mammalian CLA status;
- Effects on human health parameters of the CLA-enriched dairy products described;
- Safety and potential efficacy of naturally produced CLA-enriched dairy products in humans assessed;
- Quantification of effective CLA intakes in humans and measurement of the consequences of consumption of CLA-enriched foods for human blood lipid profiles and the definition of relationships between intake and tissue levels of CLA and its metabolites in man.