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Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs)

Following the Model of Nature

Human breast milk is the best food for infants because it has optimal nutritional properties and also because many of its ingredients have specific physiological functions. Sugar is the main component of human milk, ahead of fats and proteins. In addition to lactose, which serves as an energy source, human breast milk contains 7–25 grams of complex sugar molecules (oligosaccharides) per liter. These diverse sugars are only found at significant concentrations in human milk, and they are collectively known as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs).

HMOs have been recognized for their role in infant health since the late nineteenth century. At that time, the mortality rate for breast-fed infants was about seven times lower than that of bottle-fed infants. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the German-Austrian pediatrician and bacteriologist Professor Theodor Escherich (1857-1911) and the German pediatrician Ernst Moro (1874-1951) were able to show that the prebiotic effect of HMOs influence the development of the intestinal microbiome and thus have a positive impact on infant health. Since then, more than 150 different complex oligosaccharides have been isolated from human milk. We have learned much about the specific functional properties of these oligosaccharides, which humans cannot digest. Studies have been carried out to characterize the prebiotic effect of these sugars on the development of the human microbiome, and have also shown that they protect neonates from viral and bacterial infections, reduce the risk of allergies and inflammation, and promote brain development and neuronal activity.

HMOs not only exert their effect in the gastrointestinal tract, they also cross into the bloodstream and act in a systemic manner. Because these sugars cannot be digested or metabolically processed by human cells, they do not provide calories or energy.

Jennewein Biotechnologie has developed innovative, scalable and efficient production processes for selected HMOs and these products match their natural counterparts in terms of structure and function. The quality of our HMOs and the corresponding manufacturing processes are tailored so as to allow these products to be used as functional food ingredients in infant nutrition and medical / therapeutic nutrition as well as general functional nutrition.

Human milk oligosaccharides produced by Jennewein Biotechnologie are marketed under the brand name Mum’s Sweet Secret. The Mum’s Sweet Secret brand and the corresponding logo on the packaging inform consumers that these products contain human milk oligosaccharides produced by Jennewein Biotechnologie.