BioDairy – Health biomarkers of dairy intake

Fermented dairy products can deliver lactate as well as lactose, which in turn can be fermented to lactate by viable lactate forming starter cultures, probiotics, or the gut microbiota. Lactate may act as a regulating molecule on the immune system of the human body and can act anti-inflammatory. The concentration in gut tissue is unknown and surprisingly little information on lactate absorption processes exists. BioDairy will provide and test an experimental platform that will help to decipher the individual roles of dairy fermentation products on the complex interplay of host and intestinal microbiota.

By: Grith Mortensen

Lactate is a key compound of fermented dairy; with a standard serving size more than 1 g lactate could be ingested per meal. Following ingestion, additional lactate can be produced from lactose. Despite its regular consumption, there is surprisingly little mechanistic understanding of the immunological and microbial intestinal response to dietary lactate with potential impact on gut intestinal health.

The researchers will establish and characterize a mouse model deficient in the receptor normally binding lactate and therefore it is unable to respond directly to lactate. In parallel, the group will genetically manipulate bacterial starter cultures to generate strains that lack various enzymes involved in the breakdown of lactose. These strains are essential for investigating the impact of microbial fermentation of lactose and lactate in the gut and the role of lactate in the interaction between fermented dairy products, microbes and the host (the human body). Finally, the group will investigate how feeding the mouse model with lactate and lactose, alone or together with the manipulated starter cultures, will affect the gut's immune response as an indicator of gut health.

BioDairy will increase our understanding of health effects of fermented dairy products and may lead to suggestions for product optimization through a choice of fermentation conditions or starter cultures. Furthermore, the project will contribute to the development of biomarkers. This will provide a better understanding of the role of lactose and lactate's in human health, as well as the interaction between dairy products and the gut microbiota.

Project period: January 2023 - June 2024

Budget: 3,433,033 DKK

Financing: Milk Levy Fund

Project manager: Clarissa Schwab

Institution: Department of Biological and chemical Engineering, Aarhus University

Participants: Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen; Arla Foods Ingredients


The results originating from the project will be published on this page when they become publicly available.

Grith Mælk 1

Grith Mortensen

Chefkonsulent, Branchesekretariat mejeri, Landbrug & Fødevarer/Skejby

Mobil: 40964114