Office for Technology Commercialization

Polylactose Prebiotic Dietary Fiber

Technology #20180323

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Benefits of polylactose as a prebioticHealth benefits of polylactoseReduced body fatIncreased abundance of beneficial large intestinal bacteria
Tonya C. Schoenfuss, PhD
Associate Professor, Food Science and Nutrition
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Daniel D. Gallaher, PhD
Professor, Food Science and Nutrition
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Managed By
Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed
Short communication: Development of a rapid laboratory method to polymerize lactose to nondigestible carbohydrates
J Dairy Sci., 2018 Apr;101(4):2862-2866
Polymerization of lactose by twin-screw extrusion to produce indigestible oligosaccharides
International Dairy Journal, Volume 36, Issue 1, May 2014, Pages 74-81

Offers several health benefits

Polylactose, a novel dietary fiber, shows great promise as a prebiotic additive to human food products or supplement. Created by polymerizing lactose (a component of dairy whey), polylactose is highly fermentable, and had a profoundly positive effect on the colonic microflora. Preclinical studies showed significantly reduced body fat, lowered plasma leptin concentrations, improved blood glucose control and reduced fatty liver at a dietary concentration where other prebiotics were ineffective.

Easily incorporated into foods

Current prebiotic ingredients, fructans (fructo-oligosaccharide and inulins) and galacto-oligosaccharide, offer health benefits such as weight reduction and glycemic control. Most prebiotics, however, cannot reduce excess body fat or fatty liver or improve blood glucose control. While viscous dietary fibers (i.e., guar gum and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose) may offer these benefits, their slimy/gummy texture is unpleasant to most consumers. Polylactose powder, on the other hand, should be very easy to incorporate into foods and can be manufactured at a reasonable cost. It may also impart several of the health benefits (e.g., reduced body fat, reduced fatty liver and improved blood glucose control) current prebiotics lack.

Phase of Development

  • Pilot-plant level product manufacturing; preclinical study in rats.


  • Reduced body fat
  • Lower plasma leptin concentrations
  • Better blood glucose control
  • Reduced fatty liver
  • Several health benefits may help common chronic health conditions


  • Prebiotic additive for human food products
  • Highly fermentable, more profound effect on colonic microflora
  • Manufactured by a continuous process from a low-cost dairy ingredient


  • Prebiotics
  • Food ingredients
  • Nutritional supplements

Interested in Licensing?
The University relies on industry partners to further develop and scale up technologies for commercial purposes. The license is available for this technology and would be for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the issued patents. Please contact Larry Micek to share your business needs and technical interest in this technology.