Project Description


Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem where the body is unable to digest lactose, a type of sugar mainly found in milk and dairy products.
Understanding Lactose Intolerance

Fig. 1 |Since some people suffer from lactose intolerance, people have been producing low lactose milk through lactase hydrolysis technology. By adding artificially extracted lactase directly to sterilised milk, it hydrolyses lactose, breaking down most of it into glucose and galactose. The sterilised milk made from this milk has a very low lactose content, hence the name low lactose milk, and people suffering from lactose intolerance can enjoy it without worrying and drinking it will not cause any gastrointestinal discomfort. As glucose and galactose are both monosaccharides, they are absorbed much faster than lactose, making them easier for the body to digest and use, and avoiding the wasteful consumption of protein in milk as energy when the body is hungry.

Global lactose-free dairy products will grow at an average CAGR of around 7% from 2015-2020, with the market set to account for 80% of overall zero-lactose foods (approximately US$8.8 billion in sales) by 2020. It is clear from the figures that the lactose-free milk market has full market development space in the future. At the same time, premiumisation is an unstoppable trend in the world's current fast-growing economy. In addition to yoghurt and fresh milk, there is a huge market potential for infant formula powder, cheese and lactose-free.

Fig. 2 |Global market size of milk-related-products


Lactose intolerance is widespread and a global health problem. The underlying cause of lactose intolerance is lactase deficiency. Approximately 70% of the world's population has varying degrees of lactase deficiency, which is associated with genetic mutations, small intestinal mucosal lesions, etc.
Fig. 3 |Causes of lactose intolerance
The domestication of livestock began in Eurasia during the Neolithic period, 10,000 years ago. The earliest records of milk drinking are found in the frescoes of ancient Babylonian temples, 6,000 years ago. After thousands of years of evolution, lactose tolerance has reached over 80% among the inhabitants of Europe, North America and Central Asia, and in Poland the evolution from 0 to 80% tolerance took only 130 years. This is because people with the lactose tolerance gene have offspring that are up to 19% more lactose tolerant.
Fig. 4 |A cow in a 30,000-year-old fresco in Ville, France
Today, in Asia, lactose intolerance and lactase deficiency is predominantly found in middle-aged and elderly people, with a symptom prevalence of over 85%, and at this stage, the prevalence in school-age children and adolescents is gradually increasing and already exceeds 75%.
Fig. 5 |Asians suffer from lactose intolerance
However, while the demand for de-lactose foods is currently on the rise, the market for lactase is scarce due to the high cost and lack of production.Therefore, we wanted to modify lactase as a way to increase its yield and breakdown rate and, incidentally, reduce its manufacturing costs.


We will use Pichia Pastoris X33 and E.coli BL21(DE3) to express ß-galactosidase. E.coli JM109 will be used as the gene cloning host. The purified ß-galactosidase will be used to degrade lactose in vitro.
Our modified lactase enzymes, when used in factories, aims at reducing the cost of manufacturing lactose-free products while meeting the needs of more people with lactose intolerance.
In addition, we also distributed questionnaires and conducted interviews with relevant people to gain a better understanding of the social problems associated with lactose intolerance. We also organised public presentations to educate people about lactose intolerance and raise awareness of it.
In summary, we have designed experiments to increase lactase production and breakdown rates to address the needs of lactose intolerant people. We have also attempted to liaise with businesses to put the product into use so that the problems caused by lactose intolerance can be better addressed.


Lactose intolerance - NHS.Retrieved September 30, 2022

Definition & Facts for Lactose Intolerance. Retrieved October 7, 2022