A Value Added Product Derived From Low Value Whey and Lactose: Phase I. REVISED

Principal Investigators:

Janine E. Trempy, Oregon State University

Project Summary:

Biopolymers (microbial exopolysaccharides) have diverse applications with significant application as natural thickening, stabilizing and emulsifying agents in bakery, dairy (especially low fat/no-fat products), snacks, beverages and nutraceuticals/health products for human consumption. The demand, and thus market for biopolymers enjoys enormous profits with an estimated world market value at about US$ 10 billion dollars in 1993.

To date, very little progress in the US has been made in identifying and developing new biopolymers from GRAS (generally regarded as safe) microbes such as the Lactic Acid bacteria (LAB). This research program has identified a natural lactococcal isolate, a Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris (referred to as Ropy), which produces a biopolymer with commercial application. Preliminary studies demonstrated that this natural lactococcal Ropy isolate expressed a very ropy biopolymer (>20 mm in length) when grown on whey- or lactose- based media. This ropy biopolymer was not produced in glucose based media. Preliminary data from consumer based panels suggested that this ropy biopolymer produced a viscous, fermented milk product with a very smooth body and excellent texture.

This study seeks to extend this analysis, with a 1) comprehensive examination of the culture conditions necessary for expression of this desirable ropy biopolymer, 2) initiation of the chemical characterization of the ropy biopolymer in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Ahlgren at the USDA, and 3) additional sensory characterization of products fermented by this natural lactococcal Ropy isolate. Data generated from this study will test the hypothesis that the production of the commercially applicable ropy biopolymer by the natural lactococcal isolate appears to require culturing in whey- or lactose- based media thus providing applications for whey and lactose.


Two manuscripts submitted for review.


E.P. Knoshaug. 1998. Exopolysaccharide Biosynthesis by a Natural Lactococcal Ropy Isolate. M.S. thesis Oregon State University.

Published Abstract:

E.P. Knowhaug, M.M Skinner, A.S. Bishop, J.A. Ahlgren and J.E. Trempy. 1998. Mutational analysis defining ropy exopolysaccharide expression on Lacococcus. ADSA National meeting Denver CO.


E.P. Knoshaug, M.M. Skinner, A.S. Bishop, J.A. Ahlgren and J.E. Trempy. 1998. Mutational analysis defining ropy exopolysaccharide expression in Lactococcus lactis. ADSA National Meeting Denver, CO