Conagen has developed process for production of non-GMO human milk oligosaccharide

August 27, 2020
Sebastian Krawiec

Conagen has established a novel and proprietary process for the scalable production of non-GMO human milk oligosaccharide (HMO).

Conagen (Bedford, MA) has established a novel and proprietary process for the scalable production of non-GMO human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). HMOS are complex sugars naturally found in human milk that are responsible for directly stimulating the immune system by promoting good gut bacteria, strengthening gut barrier function, and blocking pathogens.

The most abundant HMO in human milk is 2’-fucosyllactose (2’FL), but cow’s milk contains very little of it, and purifying this compound from either cow or human milk is unsustainable. Many other HMOs on the market are produced by genetically engineering organisms, therefore Conagen’s process will offer source-sensitive consumers a pure and sustainable alternative for infant nutrition products.

“We leveraged our industry-leading technology for production of non-GMO certified natural sweeteners to instead make HMOs with simple enzymes rather than recombinant organisms. In this regard, our process resembles the way cheese is made,” said vice president of innovation, Casey Lippmeier, PhD, in a press release. “We have made impressive investments in our capabilities for high-throughput, automated enzyme identification, design and screening. From this expanded platform, we were able to identify and improve upon an interesting natural pathway for the biosynthesis of 2’FL which is more efficient than established routes. A patent application has been filed on this process.”